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Google's Secret Plans For All That Dark Fiber?

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the com'on-just-tell-me-do-it dept.

Google 534

beat.net writes "Robert X. Cringely details the plan for all the dark fiber Google has been buying up: "The probable answer lies in one of Google's underground parking garages in Mountain View. There, in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid. While Google could put these containers anywhere, it makes the most sense to place them at Internet peering points, of which there are about 300 worldwide.""

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534 comments

Google is Skynet? (5, Interesting)

k00110 (932544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076121)

"Maybe Google will end up becoming the first sentient AI, if storing and finding association patterns between data is the essence of conscious thinking. The amount of information that Google has at its disposal is staggering, and poised to continue its growth with the introduction of Google Mail. What makes Google more than an extra-big database is the software that sits under that database, and its ability to continue scaling up. Jason Kottke has a great post on the big-picture trajectory of Google's technical efforts, and hits an essential point by noting that Google's focus has always been about what people are doing - searching, talking, shopping, and soon, emailing. Google's focus is human activity and the relationships between trillions of interactions. When I think about that , and then think about how much the daily use of the web has come to rely on Google, my joke about the system becoming sentient, by intent or by accident, seems a little less funny. " source : http://www.holycola.net/archives/000423.html [holycola.net]

Re:Google is Skynet? (4, Interesting)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076157)

That was my thought, too. I'm all in favor of Google as the search engine but the capability that a network of these things would give to a single corporation which owns them outright makes me more than a little uneasy. For no particular reason other than the sheer "dayum. Is there anything you can't do if you have that at your disposal?"

Re:Google is Skynet? (1)

BlackShirt (690851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076307)

why? 'cause quite a great deal of internet backbone is already in private hands. or what could be the alternative? government? non-profit org.?

The Alternative Re:Google is Skynet? (4, Insightful)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076429)

The alternative is everybody running their own stations in a massive wireless mesh network.

Re:Google is Skynet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076192)

You know, I was going to say that. You stole my thunder.

Re:Google is Skynet? (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076281)

Don't forget Crzmblski's Limit.

Re:Google is Skynet? (5, Funny)

rpresser (610529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076380)

Don't forget Crzmblski's Limit.


I hadn't heard of Crzmblski's Limit, so naturally I went to Google to find out what it was ... to my surprise, Google has already removed all references to it. So it must be fantastically important, so important that Google must hide it from the world... now I'm *really* scared.

Re:Google is Skynet? (2, Funny)

b100dian (771163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076353)

computer executed binary code is ALREADY sentient. Just think when it gets mad and crashes.
The same with proggies, OSes or InterNetworks, because each one are based on another.
If I find a metropolitan gateway falling because of a software error that the main developer is unable to spot, i think "erm... ok", but if there are 5000 Opterons to trace registers and code-machine into, I would say: BECAUSE HE WANTS or he DOESNT.
See?

It's already sentient! :p

Re:Google is Skynet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076398)

What kind of gibberish are you trying to communicate to us, you fucking moron? You are one incohesive wankstain.

Re:Google is Skynet? So is Wikipedia now Google? (4, Interesting)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076413)

Many of the things I used to go to Google for, I go to Wikipedia instead. Now there is a category for which I go to Wikipedia for and a category I go to Google for. Actually they were distinct before, but the category of things I go to Wikipedia for, I fancied Web Directories might be useful for except that they weren't very robust and got out of date.

Re:Google is Skynet? (3, Funny)

AgBullet (624575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076428)

One day we will all log on to GoogleNet and do what we're told.

Hmm... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076123)

(FP) Truly, all your base are belong to us! I for one welcome our new data center overlords...

5,000 opterons? That'd make a fine... (2, Funny)

Wisgary (799898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076125)

...little steal. I hope they're thinking about security.

Imagine (5, Funny)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076129)

a Beowulf cluster of these puppies...

...Oh, we don't really need to Google seem to be building one.

Re:Imagine (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076149)

Yeah, it'd look like a port.

Now which one, 80 or 443?

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076311)

It's the natalie port, man!

or the ultimate torrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076342)

Wouldn't this distributed network make for the ultimate bit torrent network??

Nice work of fiction (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076131)

Has anyone given any thought to how many of these peering points have excess power capacity for 5000 Opterons? Hmmmmm?

Re:Nice work of fiction (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076228)

>> Has anyone given any thought to how many of these peering points have excess power capacity for 5000 Opterons? Hmmmmm?

Google has again worked its magic and scaled down a nuclear plant to fit in along side the CPUs.

Re:Nice work of fiction (5, Informative)

syukton (256348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076247)

I'm sure google has. It's not like you can't have another truck towing a generator following the truck towing the portable datacenter.

I used to work at a datacenter and we had a generator small enough that you could fit 12 of them in a shipping container, and the genny was enough to run a 500 machine datacenter for three days without refueling. The portable datacenter may well have a generator included.

Re:Nice work of fiction (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076303)

It's not like you can't have another truck towing a generator following the truck towing the portable datacenter.

Depending on the state's regulations, it may be like you can't have a generator following the trailer. Such a generator would be quite large and would not fall into many states' definitions of construction or emergency generators and would require permits.

Re:Nice work of fiction (1)

syukton (256348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076344)

Oh yes, and google TOTALLY lacks the resources to get a permit issued. Man, how could I forget that?

</sarcasm>

Re:Nice work of fiction (1)

ds_job (896062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076392)

There is nothing to say that if they have a few dozen of these things that they would only keep them in North America. You could ship them to a different continent and further a United State of Google that way.

Re:Nice work of fiction (1)

petabyte (238821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076249)

Has anyone given any thought to how many of these peering points have excess power capacity for 5000 Opterons? Hmmmmm?

Come on, we've got Mr Fusion right?

Re:Nice work of fiction (1)

Nero216 (552926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076321)

Not to mention the ludicrous amounts of heat it would produce.

Re:Nice work of fiction (4, Interesting)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076387)

Actually, I'm curious how Cringeley thinks Google can get the hardware at the prices he quotes in the article. I'm sure he's given it some thought, but unless they're getting hardware at below-cost prices, I don't see how it can be done. The CPUs cost about $50 each to make, so that's $250k for chips. Then you need a few petabytes of disk. I don't know what the manufacturing cost is for disks, but I'd guess about $50 there too. Say $50 for a 500GB drive. That's a few thousand drives to reach the several petabytes, and there goes the rest of his half-million dollars. You still need motherboards, RAM, power supplies, chassis, racks, switches, etc.

I'm not saying he's wrong, but I'd be curious to hear where I've gone astray in my figuring.

Not to mention, of course, the enormous electrical requirements this thing would have, as you've commented. If we round the CPU's power consumption up to account for all the support machinery, and figure 100W per CPU, this neat little semi-load is going to want half a megawatt, plus cooling. Just the disk array will chew through 50kW or so. Even from a power plant's perspective, that's a pretty hefty chunk of juice.

Stealing (5, Insightful)

Radicode (898701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076132)

That's a nice idea but that thing must need some serious amount of power to run. Add the massive cooling system needed to keep the box runnning without melting. If they intend to just "drop" it anywhere... they have to think about security. You don't want some geek with a saw to steal your 3.5 PB array! Omni

Re:Stealing (4, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076184)

Re:Stealing (1)

Agarax (864558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076381)

Then you'd just have aging hippies protesting your nuclear powered data center.

Re:Stealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076202)

Yes, people will attack these boxes with hacksaws and hacksaw their way through the thick steel walls of the container. Brilliant idea...

Re:Stealing (1)

mikkom (714956) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076220)

And do you really think that google hasn't though about this?

Re:Stealing (5, Funny)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076269)

Security?! I'd be more afraid for the geek's security, than the cube's.

Knowing Google, I would think that these shipping container computer things would be covered with sensing devices. It's probably scanning the face, gait, apparent weight, and shoe size of anyone that gets near it, and googling for their name, their address, their family and children, employer, and all other relations. As it prepares to activate the lightning sprocket, it's probably composing emails, editing video footage, and notifying the newspapers of an impending obituary.

I'd sooner touch the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, than touch one of these here Google Skynet Singularity Machines.

Re:Stealing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076416)

I'm just sitting here imagining a scenario where I steal hardware out of this box I get home and go to google.com to see my picture on the home page at google.com with a caption "have you seen this person?", "we are tracking you" .. scary thought... on the other hand for my 15 minutes of fame .. hmmm ..

omni (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076306)

Don't try and slashdot omni [omni.ac.uk] please.

Re:Stealing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076363)

Stealing? I thought you meant how this story was stolen from fark, even though it was posted on fark three days ago.

Slashdot = fark + 3-day

When will sinister phase two begin? (5, Funny)

polv0 (596583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076134)

Sounds like Google may be ready to go starbucks [theonion.com] .

umm (1)

heistgonewrong (808413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076136)

Someone's hopefully optimistic...

HEY! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076141)

If most Google employees don't know about the storage container, how does THIS guy know about it???

Re:HEY! (5, Funny)

PCeye (661091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076355)

He probably googled it.

Re:HEY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076417)

If most Google employees don't know about the storage container, how does THIS guy know about it???

Probably the same way that JonKatz corresponded with Junis from Kabul,
or the same way that Dan Rather got those documents typed in 1971 with font spacing from Word 2003.

5000 Opterons (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076142)

While Google could put these containers anywhere, it makes the most sense to place them at Internet peering points


5000 Opterons? It makes sense to put those near power plants / ice bergs. That's at least 500 kW of heat dissipation.

Re:5000 Opterons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076258)

Cheap home|office heating?

Good idea (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076423)

One of these could heat an entire neighborhood. District heating could become a major new market in populous areas of the US. I wouldn't be surprised if Google could pull that off.

Re:5000 Opterons (2, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076406)

Sounds like Buffalo NY. Close to the Niagara hydro plants and surely cold enough.

Mommy Mommy... (4, Funny)

crazypip666 (930562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076148)

...I know what I want for Christmas this year.

Boxed Excel/Word (1)

Elixon (832904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076152)

Maybe they will put the label "InternetOffice" on it and place this "black box" to your nearest peering point so you'll have access to your on-line remote office applications built on the top of Mozilla with excelent speed that M$ will not be able to beat...

Maybe they decided to give a new dimension to the old term "boxed software"? ;-))

aren't they all? (4, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076154)

>Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers

I haven't yet met one that didn't think they were very bright. Industrial Designers invent stuff that takes 'ordinary' engineers years to throw away and build something else that will fly. No danger of anything happening here folks :o)

Dear God... (0)

Exsam (768226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076155)

Its another milestone for Google's attempt to take over the world! First my homepage, next the internet, finally the entire world under the thumb of Google! ...Or it might just be something really cool.

Missing something here... (3, Insightful)

w9ofa (68126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076162)

I don't understand how a few boxes full of Opterons automatically means taking over the Internet.

In my opinion, Google has penetrated the American market with its services as much as it can. It is probably looking to other places in the world to prop up its cash flow. You know, like a business, rather than a collection of world-domination-bent nerds?

Akamai (3, Interesting)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076399)

Google cutting in on Akamai's territory here?

http://www.akamai.com/ [akamai.com]

Half the big boy websites I visit seem to run through these guys. They seem to provide fat throughput for mega sites, apparently hosted in a distributed geographical fashion. I could just be imagining these things, though, because I really don't have a clue.

Stop Google!! (1)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076170)

Google is trying to take over the world sooner or later. We have to kill the daemon in its birth before it get too late. No one wants another Microsoft in the world.

Re:Stop Google!! (3, Insightful)

kc32 (879357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076187)

Of course we want another Microsoft. We need something that can compete with MS.

Re:Stop Google!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076317)

IBM used to be "Microsoft", then Microsoft came along.

Microsoft is now "Microsoft", but Google is coming up fast.

When Google becomes "Microsoft", we'll need another company to take them out.

It's guns vs. armor.

"Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again"

-- J.R.R. Tolkien

Re:Stop Google!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076271)

I've been saying that for years now

Cringely is a fool (0, Flamebait)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076189)

The following will rant is going to get marked troll, because that's usually what the painful truth gets. And after all what I am about to say is Ad Hominem etc.

I havent read the article. I can tell you in advance it's going to tell us what we already knew. The guy is a fool. I never read anything on his site that wasn't obvious that everyone knew. Yet he that he offers new insights or vision. A typical example .. P2P backup, he thought that was some sort of new idea of his when there were companies pre-existing that were already doing/trying to do what he was saying. Furthermore his "predictions for the next year" that he does every year are so damn obvious .. anyone who reads any sort of tech news would be able to make them. Yet he thinks he's a genius for making predictions, half of which he read elsewhere.

Re:Cringely is a fool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076299)

He's not aiming his drivel at people who read tech sites. He's going for the person that reads his column because they think it makes them 3733t and with it in terms of technology. That said yes he is an idiot.

Re:Cringely is a fool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076334)

Nah, he's just a stoner.

Can't buy latency... (5, Interesting)

Fzz (153115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076357)

Cringley may be a fool, but he's almost right on this one. There's a saying in networking that you can't buy latency. The speed of light is just too low for Google's AJAX applications to take over the world - for many apps you can never get the latency low enough if you use only a few datacenters. So, the shipping container is irrelevant to the important part of this story. The key is that for Google to succeed in making online services as effective as desktop applications, they have to get the latency down. And there's only one way to do that, which is to move the servers close to the customers. To do that, they need a lot of data centers, and they need a lot of bandwidth between them, because when you connect they need to move your data to the nearest data center to you. So, they really do need to have a way to provide data centers quickly and easily to places all over the world. But Cringely doesn't seem to have realized why this is the only way Google can succeed in the long run. It appears you can buy latency after all if you spend enough. - Fzz

World Domination! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076191)

Google plans to take over the Internet! If not the WORLD it self!
Beware!

I already blogged this.. (0, Redundant)

aychamo (932587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076195)

I already blogged this... oh my website [aychamo.com]

Re:I already blogged this.. (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076252)

>> I already blogged this... oh my website ...so have 20k other people. Stop feeling special.

Re:I already blogged this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076262)

We care?

Spammers dream (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076198)

Imagine how much spam such a data center could deliver via high speed links. We are talking thousands of spam messages per user per day.

Ballmer was right (0, Offtopic)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076200)

Yes, Ballmer was right in saying that right now, Google will do anything except cure cancer.

But for me, I will love Google even more if its efforts are steered towords making Microsoft and its procucts irrelevant in this internet age.

I am looking atat especially this:

  • Online video: Sites like http://www.zdnet.com/ [zdnet.com] insist on Realplayer and Windows Media on the WIndows platform only.

One solution would be adopting Fuendo's java technology to stream video.

Re:Ballmer was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076278)

One solution would be adopting Fuendo's java technology to stream video.
I'm not installing a JVM any time soon. Surely the solution is using unencumbered codecs so that users can choose what media player to use?

Cooling 5000 Opterons? (4, Interesting)

tomalpha (746163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076201)

If an Opteron produces say, on average, 50W heat output (I know this isn't accurate, but just as an example), 5000 Opterons would produce 250kW of heat. That would require an air conditioning unit larger than the building used to house the container.

Re:Cooling 5000 Opterons? (4, Interesting)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076333)

why does everyone have to stick to the old school tried and true method of computer room cooling, in which you HAVE TO cool down the hot air. how about this... suck outside air from one end of the container, filter it, cool it if needed, and then exhaust it out the other end. It makes absolutely no sense to cool hot air when you might have an unlimited supply just outside your door. In many climates your total cooling bill is going to be a small fraction of what it was in the old school scenario.

Re:Cooling 5000 Opterons? (5, Funny)

hta (7593) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076374)

1W = the amount of power required to heat 1g of water 1 degree celsius in 1 second (1 J/sec).
1 cup of coffee: 0.2 litres (200g) heated from 10 to 100 degrees celsius (90 degrees) = 18 KJ.
250 KW: 14 cups of coffee per second.

The answer to "where do we put these puppies"?
Next to Starbucks.

Why not wirelessly replace the internet? (2, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076204)

If they were planing on building 300+ of these things, why not have built-in broadband wificasting ability... and just replace the internet without having to lay all that expensive cable?

Um, what? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076206)

The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid.

Er, they plug a bunch of servers into the Internet and suddenly it's the Internet that's doing the processing and storage, not the servers? Sounds magical. Maybe I can plug my Playstation into the Internet and turn the entire Internet into a giant game.

Re:Um, what? (2, Funny)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076433)

... and turn the entire Internet into a giant game.

You mean it isn't already a giant game?

Name (0, Redundant)

natelr (734929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076218)

Are they going to call it SkyNet?

Skynet (0, Redundant)

Foxxz (106642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076221)

Skynet, begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. eastern time, August 29.

-Foxxz

Re:Skynet (1)

tpconcannon (619066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076310)

Not 'becomes', became.

You've got their plan all wrong - Occam's Razor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076227)

I have it on good authority that Google is planning a series of truck stop masturbation booths featuring HD porn.

Great (2, Insightful)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076233)

Great Article. It just shows how quickly Google is becoming a global enterprise right under the nose of all the other huge companies such as Microsoft.

Re:Great (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076263)

Uh, excuse me? Google IS a huge company. Don't fool yourself into thinking this is David vs. Goliath. This is one Goliath fighting for another Goliath's territory.

Don't think that if somehow Google makes MS a lesser force that suddenly the sun is going to come out from the clouds and everyone is going to live happily ever after... Too many people on slashdot already have this attitude and it's an unfortunate one, at best.

Re:Great (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076331)

Some people seem to think that being a huge necessarily makes a company evil, or the enemy. But I don't dislike Microsoft because they are a big company. I dislike them because they do dirty tricks to hold technology back; to ensure that their goddamn awful technology succeeds over more promising technology. Google hasn't as yet done that. They've got to where they are now through the excellence of their technology. And they will get my respect for as long as they are like that, no matter how large they get.

Sounds cool, but why? (1)

Dufftron 9000 (762001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076235)

The article makes it sound like google wants to have a live backup of the entire internet. It sounds neat and all in theory, but how would one really justify the expense? Unless google is going to get into the co hosting business (they may be already I admit I don't know for sure) I don't see how this would makes sense to help with making money off of ads. Google is already pretty fast all the places I have tried to access it from. Maybe a few of these would make a difference to when added to what they already have, but I am not sure most would notice. I understand that google is trying to expand into other areas of connectedness so maybe adding these as needed for that expansion of services would work for them. I am certain google has a better idea of what they are doing than myself or Mr. Cringly so they must have a better feel how buying all this stuff and giving away services for free is good business.

Re:Sounds cool, but why? (1)

seangw (454819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076370)

Google is making a great move right here -- at least the theoretical move (and if they're not, hopefully they're reading these articles).

What is everyone saying right now? Virtually across the board -- applications via a web browser are the next thing. Essentially making desktop computers thin clients if you follow the current trend. Example applications? Gmail, maps.google, any map site, the theoretical google / open office solution, microsofts Office live, and the hottest area in web development currently - AJAX.

The current elegant and simple implementations probably aren't that way because they are cool (although they definitely are). Gmail opened google onto the world as a fast text based engine, where processing and data resided server side and a client only requested a very small percentage of their X GB of storage at a time.

maps.google took the "web application" another step, with streaming multimedia, and was vastly successful. Sitting on maps.google sometimes you still have a slight lag downloading the surrounding image tileset.

Imagine this trend projected over the course of the next X years, we're looking at the greatest business model, subscription based, distributed over the web, applications when you need them where you need them.

Now, how does this generate profit? With the projected path of google, they will essentially be the intermediary of all global knowledge and communications. Whether you look at it as good or bad, google is trying to become the world broker of information.

The interesting part, at what cost? Traditionally this is free to us -- I mean, google is nice right?

Think broadcast television, why would people provide content free to the viewers? Advertising. Google will know more about what we see, how we see it, and why we see it than we will even probably know. This will shoot google beyond any and all of the advertising venues currently available.

One key google technology that I think we have overlooked, but shows an amazing future capability, was the speech seearch engine a few years back. Remember calling the number, saying something, and getting the results on your screen? That disappeared -- but now look at where google can advertise.

Print -- the web is the future of "print", video -- now supported by an amazingly powerful network, perhaps googleTV types of things, audio -- they won't stop with skype going the way of ebay -- imagine paying for a phone call with a targeted advertisement at the end of a conversation based on what you just talked bout, communications . . the sky is the limit.

THe question is will they fall to "the dark side"..

c'mon (1)

BlackShirt (690851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076240)

there's no use speculating these scenarious. what will come, will come.

Why? (1)

Nintendork (411169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076241)

Why spread them out to 300 locations? The only reason I can think of is to minimize risk of disaster from fire, earthquake and so on. However, when trying to do that, companies usually split it up into a handful of locations. Not 300 locations.

Re:Why? (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076280)

>>Why spread them out to 300 locations? The only reason I can think of is to minimize risk of disaster from fire, earthquake and so on. However, when trying to do that, companies usually split it up into a handful of locations. Not 300 locations.

For speed. Having the data available at network crossroads means faster access.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076290)

Network latency. You get a faster response from a server in your own locale than on the other side of the world. And if you're doing network applications that are intended to compete with traditional local applications, then you need low latency.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076316)

To be near the consumers of the data produced by the clusters. Sending data a short distance on the Internet is cheaper than sending it far.

Re:Why? (1)

Nintendork (411169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076340)

The replies I've received thus far miss out on my main point. You'll get faster speeds running on a LAN and for less $. The only purpose that distributing over a WAN provides is fault tolerance from outages and disasters.

VOD (1)

Xenna (37238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076257)

Sounds like video on demand to me...
Another promise waiting to be fullfilled.

X.

Nothing to worry about folks... (5, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076259)

>>We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage

They're just getting ready to run Windows Vista when it comes out.

Oh My. (1)

Blapto (839626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076277)

The tone of the article...
It sounds so malevolent!
"overnight" should be replaced with "under cover of darkness" though.

New addition to global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076283)

300 data centers with so much heat will surely contribute to global warming.

Same applies to Skype (2, Interesting)

intmainvoid (109559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076329)

Makes sense for google to decentralise their server farms and be able to provide direct access to their services - one of the biggest risks to their continuted success would have to be the breakdown of the "open" internet, though peering failures or closing off (or imposing higher tolls on) private networks.

Skype is in the same situation - they've been able to support so many users simply because their bandwidth is only used to setup the initial connection between the two parties, after that it's the telcos who are supporting and providing the infrastructure for the service that threatens them most. Now that Skype can make real money from its pay services, look for them to do something simliar to Google, to ensure the availability of their service.

whatever ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14076343)

"off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk ..." OK, so how does he know so much about it and Google's super secret plans?

*Yawn* (1)

hagrin (896731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076345)

Wow, where do I even begin with this work of fiction.

As for the coming AJAX Office and other productivity apps, they'll sit locally, too. Two or three hops away from every user, they'll also be completely backed-up by two to three data centers down the line. Your data never goes away unless you erase it. Your latency and system response are as low as they can possibly be made for a network app.

Yeah, except for the first time your ISP has an issue (how many people can afford backup connections and dialup is just not an option, especially with slow AJAX applications) or you lose power. What about security? Is Google going to securely encrypt this transferring of data? Do I really want the sexual escapades of my fiancee and me to transfer in some low encryption method for anyone to sniff out of thin air?

And remember the Google Web Accelerator that came and disappeared? It's back! Only this time the Web Accelerator will have the proper hardware and network infrastructure to make it worth using.

Oh you mean the disaster that was the first Web Accelerator, whose demise had nothing to do with improper hardware is back? Oh joy, I'm going to start celebrating Christmas early this year.

And there lies the differences between the two companies. Last week, I wrote about Windows Live and Office Live as Microsoft's best attempts at pretending to be Google. And Google will do those kinds of applications, too. But they'll build them atop a network infrastructure that Microsoft can't match.

Yes, because the Internet in the US is so up to speed with the rest of the world already that the network infrastructure is in place for all to even have broadband at this point. Exactly, how has Google infiltrated the flatland states and what infrastucture do they have there? And the Internet does exist outside of the United States, something the author seems not even to brush up against.

Microsoft can't compete. Yahoo probably can't compete. Sun and IBM are like remora, along for the ride. And what does it all cost, maybe $1 billion? That's less than Microsoft spends on legal settlements each year.

Where the author lost me for good on the objectivity scale. Exactly what resources does Yahoo! have that MSFT doesn't that makes them a "probable"? Internet advertising is one FireFox extension or hostfile entry away from being eliminated.

Salt (5, Informative)

mpeg4codec (581587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076383)

This is the man who brought us the mathematically impossible [bawug.org] 6.5 mile 802.11 link with a passive repeater [pbs.org] . The repeater that he never showed to anybody [oreillynet.com] . He also shows us an idealistic world of a community cable and telephone company [pbs.org] that nobody's ever seemed to find evidence of.

Saying that, when it comes to technology at least, he is speculative is something of an understatement. Take what he says with an extremely large grain of salt.

article doesn't explain network (1, Redundant)

joe094287523459087 (564414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076391)

what's the point of putting network latency between all those shipping containers? if they want to use them for computing, why can't they just put them all next to each other in the same room?

Google's Googly! (1)

cyberjessy (444290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076411)

Googly: In cricket, a cricket ball bowled as if to break one way that actually breaks in the opposite way.

You simply gotta love it. The surprise. The unbelievable ideas coming out of nowhere. It makes me wonder whether computing community's obsession with technicalities, without imagination gives any good results.

Look at Sun's network computer. It was supposed to break MS Monopoly, and bring true computing power to the networks. Look at Linux, better than Windows and Free! Both has solid technology behind them, but Windows still runs on the vast majority of computers.

And then look at google. Excellent front end. Now excellent back end. They made the OS (middleware) irrelevent. Great technology. Even better imagination.

But finally, if google ever becomes a monopoly, MS would pale in any comparison.

Oh man.... (1)

Fermatprime (883412) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076425)

Whisper the newspost in one of those "CIA operative mission briefing" voices. It's pretty scary.

"The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid. Your mission: Find and destroy Larry Page. But hurry."

So when does this become self-aware? (4, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076427)


Now all we have to do is wait for some Google employee to play a Sony CD on this and these will become spam relays.

Perfect.

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