Google Opens Window Into Secretive Data Centers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) --€” Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) is opening a virtual window into the secretive data centers where an intricate maze of computers process Internet search requests, show YouTube video clips, and distribute email for millions of people.

The unprecedented peek is being provided through a new website unveiled Wednesday. The site features photos from inside some of the eight data centers that Google already has running in the U.S., Finland, and Belgium. Google is also building data centers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Chile.

Virtual tours of a North Carolina data center also will be available through Google's "Street View" service, which is usually used to view photos of neighborhoods around the world.

The photographic access to Google's data centers coincides with the publication of a Wired magazine article about how the company builds and operates them. The article is written by Steven Levy, a journalist who won Google's trust while writing "In The Plex," a book published last year about the company's philosophy and evolution.

The data centers represent Google's nerve center, although none are located near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

This undated photo provided by Google shows a Google data center in Douglas County, Ga. (Source: The Associated Press.)

As Google blossomed from its roots in a Silicon Valley garage, company co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked with other engineers to develop a system to connect low-cost computer servers in a way that would help them realize their ambition to provide a digital roadmap to all of the world's information.

Initially, Google just wanted enough computing power to index all the websites on the Internet and deliver quick responses to search requests. As Google's tentacles extended into other markets, the company had to keep adding more computers to store videos, photos, email, and information about their users' preferences.

The insights that Google gathers about the more than 1 billion people that use its services has made the company a frequent target of privacy complaints around the world. The latest missive came Tuesday in Europe, where regulators told Google to revise a 7-month-old change to its privacy policy that enables the company to combine user data collected from its different services.

Google studies Internet search requests and Web surfing habits in an effort to gain a better understanding of what people like. The company does this in an effort to show ads of products and services to the people most likely to be interested in buying them. Advertising accounts for virtually all of Google's revenue, which totaled nearly $23 billion through the first half of this year.

Even as it allows anyone with a Web browser to peer into its data centers, Google intends to closely guard physical access to its buildings. The company also remains cagey about how many computers are in its data centers, saying only that they house hundreds of thousands of machines to run Google's services.

Google's need for so many computers has turned the company a major electricity user, although management says it's constantly looking for ways to reduce power consumption to protect the environment and lower its expenses.

The company's data centers are located in: Berkeley County, S.C.; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Douglas County, Ga.; Mayes County, Okla.; Lenoir, N.C.; The Dalles, Ore.; Hamina, Finland; and St. Ghislain, Belgium. Other data centers are being built in Quilicura, Chile; Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2061722, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/1/2014 12:27:39 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,858.77 -184.13 -1.08%
S&P 500 1,955.86 -16.43 -0.83%
NASD 4,444.26 -49.13 -1.09%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/1/2014 12:12 PM
GOOGL $581.00 Down -7.41 -1.26%
Google (A shares) CAPS Rating: ****

Advertisement