Google, the often heralded and always secretive internet giant, has recently presented a series of galleries featuring stunning images from its data centers. Featuring images from South Carolina, Iowa, Finland, Belgium, and many others, the pictures provide a much more intimate look into how Google physically orchestrates perhaps one of the most influential efforts of the entire internet. As with almost everything that Google does, there is more than one reason for the visual tour: according to an article on CBS San Francisco, “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 history of Google is the same as many other tech giants who now influence the world: the cofounders initially had one intent: to identify as many pages on the web as possible and provide that information in a search feature with quick response times. However, as Google gained notoriety in this area, it also began delving into other areas of the internet. Now it goes without saying that Google has a hand in almost anything dealing with the internet — a far cry from its humble beginnings in a garage somewhere within silicon valley. Now Google finds itself as a collector of enormous data, gathered from the searches, online habits, and interactions that people have with the web. This is a two edged sword for the company: on one hand, they are able to sell advertising that can be shown to exactly the right audience. On the other hand, they must protect their methods of gaining that information, less they gain competitors who wish to cash in on the same success.
This helps explain why many industry experts are thrilled to see these images. Of course there are no big reveals in the galleries, but it is a level of access that Google rarely shares. The galleries are broken down by slideshows for “the tech”, “the people”, and “the places.” Each one shows the frozen story of an organization that not only streamlines the enormous amount of equipment and technological skill required for a worldwide operation, but also the sheer size of Google’s physical reach across the globe — one of the reasons that Google is actively attempting to find ways to reduce energy consumption. The images also reveal some Google’s constant re-imagining and clever innovation that has helped make the company what it is today. This includes a color coded system for all pipework running through the data centers, staff working in the data-centers that are able to wear what they like, are provided with luxurious conference rooms, given bicycles to get around inside the centers quickly and are highly skilled in their areas. As Google puts it on the site, we are given a glance at the “physical internet.” It’s well worth a few minutes time to get a peek at what, up until now, only Google employees have been able to see. The link to the Original CBS San Francisco article: