Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google's Floating Datahaven

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the don't-spring-a-leak dept.

Google 450

PDG writes "Google has pending plans to take its data centers off-shore, literally. By moving their data centers to floating barges in international waters, they are able to save money on taxes and electricity (using wave based power) as well as reside their operations outside the jurisdiction of governments. There is mention of hurricane and other caveats, but I wonder how they plan to get a bandwidth pipe large enough and still be reliable. Seems like a chapter out of a Neal Stephenson novel." You might recall earlier discussions on the same subject.

cancel ×

450 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

In other news... (5, Funny)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | about 6 years ago | (#25009661)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces a multi-billion dollar investment in a fleet of submarines.

Re:In other news... (5, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#25009907)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces a multi-billion dollar investment in a fleet of submarines.

You kid, but wait till Google has some shit that China, Iran, or even the US doesn't like. Or Greenpeace or some other aggressive group doesn't like.

Accidents do happen at sea!

Re:In other news... (4, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 6 years ago | (#25010297)

It would serve as a good reminder to corporate interests, domestic and abroad, that they operate at the will of the citizens of countries that protect them. That is part of what those taxes are funding. Yarr, avast ye maties, plunder me some big iron and NAS!

While I think Google's intentions here are probably good in the "freedom of speech" department, I'd rather see them addressing the root cause preventing them from maintaining servers on shore. Taxes they can't fix, but we pride ourselves on being a "free country". What do they need us, as citizens, to do to protect their interests?

Re:In other news... (5, Funny)

lord_sarpedon (917201) | about 6 years ago | (#25010303)

Ha! And you think Google isn't prepared for that?

Google Android...a platform for "mobile phones" huh.
The Dalvik virtual machine sounds kinda like Dalek to me. Coincidence? Or killer robot defense force that also doubles as WiFi hotspots?

I hear they're launching stuff into space now too.

Re:In other news... (5, Funny)

rarel (697734) | about 6 years ago | (#25010393)

GOO-GLE-MI-NA-TE!

Re:In other news... (0, Redundant)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#25010005)

And torpedoes.

Re:In other news... (2, Funny)

drakono (1339167) | about 6 years ago | (#25010295)

Why? They'll just end up loading the tubes with chairs anyway.

Re:In other news... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#25010411)

This [gizmodo.com] will work.

Odd thing is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010093)

That they could have done it with a simple diver, and yet, they took the expensive approach. Somehow buying a fleet of subs would be in MS's mind set.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010221)

When you move your operations outside of jurisdictional bounds, then you remove yourself from the protection of the government as well.

I guess Google will have to hire Mercenaries to protect their data center.

I wonder if I'll get a "We don't think you have a Google Personality" letter if I apply as a Mercenary instead of as a software engineer.

Re:In other news... (0, Redundant)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#25010307)

One particular vessel of Microsoft's new fleet, the MSS Chair, has the words "I'm gonna f---ing kill Google!" emblazoned on her hull.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010321)

The next step would be to recognized by other established countries as a sovereign nation. As Microsoft already has a flag, I wonder how long it would take for them to jump on that bandwagon?

Re:In other news... (1)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | about 6 years ago | (#25010355)

Now we will see what digital piracy really looks like

nuke it from orbit? (0, Offtopic)

someone1234 (830754) | about 6 years ago | (#25009663)

Excellent, there won't be collateral damage, should one of the governments want to get rid of it.

Re:nuke it from orbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010023)

It's the only way to be sure.

That's because... (5, Funny)

InfinityWpi (175421) | about 6 years ago | (#25009675)

You see, Neal was born in 2014, he was only allowed to come back in time if he wrote some 'science fiction' novels that would cover up the fact he was a time traveller by just making him look like he made some lucky guesses.

Re:That's because... (5, Funny)

Twyst3d (1359973) | about 6 years ago | (#25010053)

Keep an eye out for kayaking Eskimos with glass knives IMO

bandwidth (4, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | about 6 years ago | (#25009687)

but I wonder how they plan to get a bandwidth pipe large enough and still be reliable

Google satellites of course!

Re:bandwidth (1)

ozphx (1061292) | about 6 years ago | (#25009965)

Search results in 500ms or your adwords are free?

Re:bandwidth (5, Funny)

lord_sarpedon (917201) | about 6 years ago | (#25010389)

Latency can be reduced significantly if they begin sending your results a mere moment before you submit your search.

This feature requires you to be signed in I think.

Re:bandwidth (4, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 6 years ago | (#25010229)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a rubber dinghy loaded to capacity with USB thumb drives.

Re:bandwidth (4, Funny)

rootofevil (188401) | about 6 years ago | (#25010359)

its the latency that kills you

One word... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25009711)

Pirates.

I hope Google is willing to defend those datacenters by themselves in international waters... it would be a shame if they were sunk !

Re:One word... (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#25010091)

Don't worry. Each barge has a team of ninjas assigned to it to fight off pirates.

Re:One word... (1)

rootofevil (188401) | about 6 years ago | (#25010381)

thats too bad for google then, pirates are way cooler than ninjas

patent!? (5, Funny)

zoefff (61970) | about 6 years ago | (#25009715)

From the article it's clear that they want to patent the idea.
I don't understand that. What's the use of a patent if somebody infringing it is also in international waters and not bounded to patent law?

Re:patent!? (3, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | about 6 years ago | (#25009917)

They are going to enter the patent in the Pirate Code.

All disputes to be settled by broadsides should parlay fail.

Re:patent!? (1)

henrygb (668225) | about 6 years ago | (#25010227)

The patent application [uspto.gov] does not cover issues like being outside the territorial limit or tax avoidance.

Re:patent!? (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | about 6 years ago | (#25010301)

While such devices will operate in international waters, it's likely that they'll be constructed in one patent-supporting jurisdiction or another. I assume that would be sufficient grounds for infringement in the location of construction, even if that's not where the device is currently located. But, IANAL.

Re:patent!? (2, Informative)

morgauo (1303341) | about 6 years ago | (#25010357)

SeaLand? Prior Art?

Isn't ThePirateBay's attempt to buy Sealand for this purpose good enough?

Remember that Total Information Awareness plan? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 6 years ago | (#25009717)

Well it's called google, and now they want to be immune from laws.

I don't think they could legally be allowed to abscond with our data.

oh wait, according to the eula, they own our data, right?

Re:Remember that Total Information Awareness plan? (2, Insightful)

asg1 (1180423) | about 6 years ago | (#25009877)

This is rather interesting... If they want to make themselves immune from any one nation's laws then they will also be making themselves immune from said nation's protection. Given that, would Google, or a company like it, form alliances and/or some sort of military?

I know this is thinking way ahead, but that prospect opens up a whole new can of worms. IMHO, I think I'd rather have companies answering to governments (depending on the government of course), but that's just me.

Re:Remember that Total Information Awareness plan? (2, Insightful)

runlevelfour (1329235) | about 6 years ago | (#25010119)

Either that or Google plans on hiring mercenaries...er wait.... private contractors for protection. International waters, they could have their own navy if they wanted.

Re:Remember that Total Information Awareness plan? (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 years ago | (#25010433)

I'd be more worried about countries laws than about google's eula. Google could need to have stored data about users to be able to give some services or parts of the eula could be meant to avoid lawsuits.

But several countries (Brazil [webpronews.com] and USA [bbc.co.uk] to name 2 cases) required Google to give their user's data to government agencias, or to censor [wikipedia.org] content to comply with local laws.

"Don't be evil" looks like an ok policy. But following law is good or evil? and what if that law (or at least the people behind it) is evil?

HARRRRRR (2, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#25009723)

MATEY!!! FINALLY ME MATES AND ME PARROT CAN HANDLE DE SEAS AND REALLY PIRATE SUM ME DIGITAL DATA!

I can't wait until they start burying pirated DVDs and stolen WoW cards in the islands on the coast of New England. Just imagine a bunch of digital pirates raiding an off-shore data center. Hilarious.

No, I haven't had my coffee this morning, not yet.)

The Google Empire (1)

jdmuir (207188) | about 6 years ago | (#25009735)

- Floating cities.
- Navies and marines to defend their floating cities.
- ...
- Profit, and world domination!

Cool... like sealand (2, Interesting)

xgr3gx (1068984) | about 6 years ago | (#25009755)

It's like the Principality of Sealand [sealandgov.org]
It's situated on an old abandoned British island fortress from WWII

Umm no they are not. (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#25009757)

This is a bad dupe at best.
From what I heard was that Google was thinking of putting these in ports as mobile data centers.
Putting them off shore would cause more problems than it would solve.
1. Power. Wave power? Not with a barge. You might get a small part of you power from waves but not a lot.
2. Bandwidth. Fiber is fast everything else is slow. Running a fiber line out to a barge is iffy at best.
3. Weather.
Now if you could put one on say an offshore drilling rig that might work. If you used stranded natural gas for power and sea water for cooling it might make a little sense.

wave power (5, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | about 6 years ago | (#25010025)

can be done with rolling seas..

You send something to the sea floor and secure it

the raising of the whole ship based on wave motion can drive a flywheel..... the displacement of the ship generates a LOT of power....

Re:Umm no they are not. (2, Interesting)

evanbd (210358) | about 6 years ago | (#25010083)

Generally agreed, but what's iffy about fiber to the barge? Undersea fiber is a well understood technology. You need a little bit of flex in the line for normal motion of the ship, but I doubt that's likely to be a problem.

I'm curious (1)

hansoloaf (668609) | about 6 years ago | (#25009777)

if they have any plans to deal with corrosive salts from the oceans?
Should be interesting.

Re:I'm curious (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 6 years ago | (#25010105)

if they have any plans to deal with corrosive salts from the oceans?

They're breeding a dolphin/deer hybrid to swim around the facility and lick off the salt.

Re:I'm curious (2, Informative)

needs2bfree (1256494) | about 6 years ago | (#25010191)

I would assume that it would be the same way ships handle this to cool engines. Its essentially a two or three stage system, with either pure water or a glycol mix on the second stage. This limits your corrosion to short lengths of pipe. The ship i was on used impressed current cathodic protection. Contrary to what you would expect, we never had any electrical problems. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathodic_protection [wikipedia.org]

Ships are still registered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25009779)

The ships still have to be registered somewhere, and will pa y taxes there. I suspect that if Mongolian registry will become much more expensive if they think there's a profit potential there. The same applies with Libya and Panama and a few other such registrars. And, if you own the land side of the uwave link, you can tax it however you like.

Re:Ships are still registered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010113)

If the ship never docks at a port, then would it need to be registered at all? I would compare this to a pick-up truck used by a farmer, that never leaves the farm. Since it is not operated on public roads, it does not need to be registered.

Interesting concept (3, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | about 6 years ago | (#25009795)

It's an interesting idea and no mistake. I guess you could 'deal with' natural conditions, simply by ensuring your data barges are geographically distributed and 'DR capable'. I'm still unconvinced though - anything at sea gets significantly more expensive - it's not just the weather, as much as continuous strain that a salt water, constantly moving environment applies to something.

I suppose that could be offset against energy/cooling costs and ground rent, but ... I'm pretty sure that in terms of square feet, a yacht costs more than an apartment.

Manpower (2, Insightful)

odin84gk (1162545) | about 6 years ago | (#25009799)

Forget taxes. What about when a person is required for maintenance? (For example: ship electrical systems) You will need more manpower as a land-based server farm, but now you have to have living quarters or several fast boats to get your people from the shore to the boat. I bet Google was just patenting this idea for patents sake.

Sounds like a chapter out of Slashdot... (3, Informative)

solevita (967690) | about 6 years ago | (#25009803)

Re:Sounds like a chapter out of Slashdot... (1)

greenguy (162630) | about 6 years ago | (#25010261)

Slashdot has chapters? How can I join one?

FINALLY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25009813)

Out of the paws of bureaucrats!

today the oceans... (2, Interesting)

Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) | about 6 years ago | (#25009821)

...tomorrow space will become the next place to host their data centers, and then they'll start colonizing worlds and start being referred to as "the company"

Re:today the oceans... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 6 years ago | (#25009977)

Wow, I didn't realize Noah Bennet [wikipedia.org] was a slashdotter.

What a summary (4, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | about 6 years ago | (#25009835)

[..] but I wonder how they plan to get a bandwidth pipe large enough and still be reliable.

I don't think a pipe on the bottom of the ocean is your biggest concern when you put hundreds of thousands of computers on a man made island, exposed to possible tsunamis and hurricanes.

And while we're at it, have they thought of the possibility of terrorist attacks? If they're outside any jurisdiction, they also have no military power to protect them from planes, boats, subs and whatnot.

Re:What a summary (0)

Twyst3d (1359973) | about 6 years ago | (#25010087)

And what better way to clean all the dirty money they have then having by "necessity" to fund their own small personal army.

Re:What a summary (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#25010237)

Blackjack. And hookers.

Re:What a summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010211)

In the middle of the ocean, tsunami's are harmless waves that pass mostly unnoticed.

Hurricanes remain a problem though :)

Re:What a summary (1)

just fiddling around (636818) | about 6 years ago | (#25010231)

Interesting line of inquiry!

Maybe they will build an armed protection fleet, which would make Google the first military-capable corporation outside of mercenary "consultancies"(i.e.: Blackwater). This all sounds too Shadowrun (v1) for me, and at the same time plausible.

Re:What a summary (2, Funny)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#25010293)

Those terrists will use Google maps to locate where it is and Google will just point them to wherever they like.

Re:What a summary (1)

InfinityWpi (175421) | about 6 years ago | (#25010327)

That will be solved with the new (still in beta) Google Navy, where if you'd like you can join their private military service for one year, and in return get access to special 'Friend of Google' restriction-lifting on disk space and bandwidth.

Re:What a summary (1)

NoisySplatter (847631) | about 6 years ago | (#25010475)

You jest, but i would definitely join the Google military. After all, "Do no evil" is a better constitution than most sovereign nations can claim to have.

Re:What a summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010329)

And while we're at it, have they thought of the possibility of terrorist attacks?

What's more likely is plain old piracy (no, not the copying kind). As you mentioned, there are hundreds of thousands of computers which are certainly worth some coin, so this poses a rather profitable target.

Re:What a summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010365)

If they're not paying US taxes then they should not get the benefit of US government services. No military should come to their aid, no emergency services, no police and no firefighters.

Re:What a summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010375)

That's okay - they'll just put fake information on Google Maps, then no-one will be able to find them...

YaRRR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010447)

And PIRATES! AAARRRR!

Re:What a summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010459)

If you don't trust the summary, then you should know that they'll be seven miles offshore, *not* in international waters. They're going to save on *property* taxes, not on other forms of taxation.

Re:What a summary (2, Interesting)

word munger (550251) | about 6 years ago | (#25010465)

Ummm... Tsunamis are only a danger as they approach the coastline. Not 7 miles off shore. Hurricanes may be a bigger factor. Although clearly there are some places that are more hurricane-prone than others. Has a hurricane ever hit the Bay Area? Terrorists: intriguing idea. But wouldn't it be just as easy for terrorists to bomb a data center on land, if that's what they wanted to do?

building a vessel that floats on almost anything? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25009849)

seems like a timely idea.

greed, fear & ego are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of yOUR dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & the notion of prosperity, not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/02/nasa.global.warming.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/05/severe.weather.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/02/honore.preparedness/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/05/senate.iraq/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080708/cheney_climate.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20080805/pl_politico/12308;_ylt=A0wNcxTPdJhILAYAVQms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080903/ts_nm/environment_arctic_dc;_ylt=A0wNcwhhcb5It3EBoy2s0NUE

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

'The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

recipe for success; consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

how about orbiting data satellites? (2, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | about 6 years ago | (#25009871)

I have visions of "Google-Stars" orbiting the earth, modelled after the Star Wars Death Stars. These will agther and beam the sum of Earth's knowledge. Plus they will be pollution-free running on abundant solar power above the clouds. Google will have their own private space fleet to service these. Google already leases NASA-Ames to run their private jets, and Sergey will be an experienced Cosmonaut in two years.

Labor Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25009875)

This is one way of reigning in high labor costs. Ships "at sea" are not under any countrys particular jurisdiction. If the "crew" [IT Folks] want better pay, too bad, they can be let off at the next port, etc.

There is no bargaining, no standard rules , no "unions", etc.

We need some pirates, ASAP.

Your Acceptance of This Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25009879)

Is proof positive that you are a TOTAL FREAKING DORK!!!

Get a clue!

Re:Your Acceptance of This Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010043)

But, it's such a pretty green dream.

Only a small fraction of a chapter... (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | about 6 years ago | (#25009927)

A real chapter from a Neal Stephenson novel would have many more obscure references, at least one reference to the protagonist's badassery, and 12-18 other plotlines.

Power savings (1)

RMB2 (936187) | about 6 years ago | (#25009943)

Seems like they might not only be able to save electricity $ from wave power, but possibly even save energy with some clever cooling schemes. After all, a huge body of water is essentially a gigantic heat sink.

Something like TFA says Sun has investigated thinking about putting their computers in coal mines, quote:

Sun Microsystems plans to send its computers down an abandoned coal mine, using water from the ground as a coolant.

Re:Power savings (1)

timelorde (7880) | about 6 years ago | (#25010067)

Oh, great. Now I'm going to hear that Devo song in my head the rest of the day.

International Waters?!? (4, Informative)

Stooshie (993666) | about 6 years ago | (#25009957)

... By moving their data centers to floating barges in international waters ...

... The company is considering deploying the supercomputers necessary to operate its internet search engines on barges anchored up to seven miles (11km) offshore ...

Erm, considering that national boundaries extend 12 miles from the mainland, that's hardly international.

Google Navy (2, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | about 6 years ago | (#25009967)

It would need its own defensive and offensive systems. Basically this floating data center is also a floating target. I could imagine a well placed "torpedo" accidently being discharged and watch the floating gold mine bubble its way down to the depths of the ocean

Yes, because cruise liners (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 6 years ago | (#25010063)

Already have defensive flotillas around them. Not.

Re:Google Navy (1)

spydum (828400) | about 6 years ago | (#25010149)

s/gold/copper/

Pirates? (1)

VirtBlue (1233488) | about 6 years ago | (#25009975)

Seriously though how are they going to protect themselves. I think Prime Target pretty much sums it up. Will they employ a private security force?

Re:Pirates? (1)

squoozer (730327) | about 6 years ago | (#25010171)

I'm not sure pirates would be much of a problem. My guess is they would probably anchor some where off the USA and European coast, just in international water. I can't see that many pirates operating in those waters.

Google Realizes the U.S.A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25009987)

is now the U.S.S.A.

Cordially,
Kilgore Trout [exiledonline.com]

I would like to see the balance sheet for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010037)

What will be the true cost of this exercise?

Sea water is not a benign substance, it eats away at stuff, particularly metal, that gets submerged in it. Where and how do they plan to repaint the hulls of said vessels? What about the replacement of parts, such as the sacrifical anode?

One of the big problems with propeller driven electricity generation from sea water movement is the maintenance cost. In the end, you're just throwing metal into the ocean and getting electricity in return.

If the idea is to put them in international waters so they don't have to pay tax, etc, will they be allowed to be registered in a specific country and thus fly a flag or will they denied registration and thus be branded priates? (Given the wealth of Google, I'm sure they could "buy" a flag from some small sea faring country.) But what happens when the USA decides "you're doing this to avoid paying us tax revenue, if you dock at american ports for service, etc, be prepared.."

And I'm sure there are many many more curve balls to this issue than I've touched on above...

Pirates. (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | about 6 years ago | (#25010049)

No one ever considers the fact that if you exist outside of National jurisdiction, you're fair game. It's a sad fact of the nation-state, but still very much real.

Dupe protocol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010057)

Is it now perfectly okay to post a duplicate story with no new information as long as you link to the old one?

Cooling potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010059)

The ocean has unlimited cooling potential! The water constantly flows, so you don't have to worry about pumping it around, although you could pump it through the ship with ease, I'm sure. How hot does the ocean get on a good day? 80 degrees?

Data centers need cooling, but floating? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 6 years ago | (#25010077)

I don't seem to understand the whole tax thing. If you catch fish in international waters, you still pay tax in a port, right? I bet that the whole tax advantage will be extremely short lived. Governments are experts at getting your tax money. I foresee a connection-tax (I invented that name) for any data-cable crossing a coastline. For the cooling, it is a good idea. In open seas there is no limit (and no regulation on the amount of cooling water you can take in, whereas such limits/regulations exist at many coastlines of developed countries. the cooling is the main energy consumption of data centers. Therefore, the ships will not need too much energy, and the wave power generators will not need to be as huge as some might think (data centers use up to 50 MW sometimes, but that's mainly cooling).

Yeah right (1)

squoozer (730327) | about 6 years ago | (#25010115)

I've heard they will be using the barges to anchor the space elevator too.

While I'm sure Google are looking into this I can't see it happening anytime soon. It's hard enough to run a massive data centre on land let alone run one that is bobbing up and down on the ocean all the time. I can't believe for one minute that this is the cheapest thing that would work.

In reality I imagine this is just an idea that was mooted and a couple of guys have looked into the feasibility to it. If you're as big as Google you can afford to look into hair brained ideas. If one sticks you make another fortune.

There is no such thing (5, Informative)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 6 years ago | (#25010129)

as 'outside government jurisdiction'. A ship HAS to be registered and carry the flag of SOME nation, and it will be subject to the laws of that country. So a ship is no more or less outside the law than if you built your data center in that country.

Supposing someone has a ship which is NOT registered anywhere, then it is essentially 'fair game'. If say the US didn't like what you're doing they can just sail on up and do whatever they want with you. They could certainly board and seize any such vessel, after all who's going to object? In theory there might be some construction of maritime law that provides some protections, but without a government capable of objecting you're basically SOL.

So, there would be no consideration on Google's part of evasion of law. Possibly a way to choose a regulatory regime you like, but that's about it. Plus remember any large corporation is pretty much held hostage to its investors, insurance requirements, financing, and ultimately to whatever nations it has substantial business interests in.

Actually, thinking about it more... (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 6 years ago | (#25010257)

The more likely people you'd want to be legally protected against wouldn't be say the US govt, it would be people that might not like what you're doing. International waters, privacy laws? What privacy laws? Nice safe place to do people's dirty work for them and never have to answer for it.

Anyway, as someone else pointed out, these things would be docked in a port. Frankly I think they'll find it would make just as much sense to just put up a building next to the ocean...

Re:There is no such thing (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#25010333)

A ship HAS to be registered and carry the flag of SOME nation, and it will be subject to the laws of that country. So a ship is no more or less outside the law than if you built your data center in that country.

That's true, but just as countries offering flags of convenience (Liberia, Cambodia) are happy to do away with other hassles shipowners don't like (taxes, safety regulations, inspections) I'm sure they'd be willing to accommodate Google's needs in the very unlikely event that this happens.

Google's Floating Datahaven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010189)

with blackjack and hookers. Hell, forhget the blackjack.

Even smarter (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#25010199)

would be to locate in Alaska and power it with the new geothermal set ups that they are investing into.

Tubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010217)

The internet has to run on tubes from out in the ocean, right?

What about piracy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010309)

Yarr give me all yer copper I say!

outside the jurisdiction of governments (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#25010315)

Which would also include any privacy provisions. Heh, offshore datahavens will also have no protection against pirates, possibly hired by a certain government or two.

Threat to National Security?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25010317)

Does anyone in the government see this as a potential threat to national security. With all the data Google has and carries, I wouldn't want it made available in International Waters.

Cobra Island... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 6 years ago | (#25010325)

Why don't they just make like COBRA and create their own island, a la the comics? It would work better, and they may even be able to garner UN representation, unlike that little British Island the crown still lays claim toward...

Energy saving (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#25010341)

You can get some energy from the wave, but believing this is going to be cost efficient against, say, buying it from the grid is a bit ridiculous. No they won't save anything on energy doing that.

If they do save something, it's at most the cost of transporting energy from offshore to onshore, as any other saving would be arbitraged away.

Getting data and money off the hands of criminal organizations (aka governments) is a much more interesting consequence.

Re-Run the "Pirate" Poll (2, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | about 6 years ago | (#25010385)

Slashdot needs to re-run the "Most Frequently Pirated" Poll, adding this Data-Barge to the list.

Who will they be flagged under? (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25010435)

1) What country will they be flagged under?
2) Will the international community hold that country accountable if the Good Ship GooglePlex starts doing things that are "evil" in the eyes of a more powerful country?

Seriously, if they fly under the flag of a small country, what's to stop China from threatening the small country if Google tries to actively evade the Great Firewall? What's to stop the US Government from threatening sanctions if Google stops cooperating with Washington?

On the other hand, if it flies under the flag of a country that's too big to sanction, then it's still at the mercy of that country's government.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?