A Rare Peek Inside Google’s Candy-Colored Data Centers

A search giant’s data-crunching infrastructure, or world’s most awesome playground?

The pipes and cables that snake through Google’s many data centers may be the closest thing we have to actual “intertubes.” This is the infrastructure that helps us find what we’re looking for on the web, allowing the search giant to process up to 3 billion search queries per day and store our entire Google identities in the cloud. In fact, what you see above is the cloud. It’s an image from Google’s new site dedicated to their data centers, where we users finally get a chance to see where all those searches get sorted.


Historically, big companies have been highly secretive about their packet palaces. While competing publicly with their consumer products (search, smartphones, e-readers, and tablets), tech titans like Google, Apple, and Amazon are in a constant behind-the-scenes battle for any infrastructural edge in powering the data services all those devices rely upon. But, perhaps in response to a recent investigation by the New York Times that pegged data centers as sources of colossal waste (misleadingly, some have said), Google devoted an entire new website to showing theirs off. The site lets users check out images of eight Google data centers around the world, learn about the people who operate them, and even take a self-guided Street View tour through the Lenoir, North Carolina, facility.

Google bills it as a chance to “see where the Internet lives.” It’s also a chance for them to give a (surprisingly fun-looking) face to these mysterious places that, according to the Times report, can suck down as much as 300 million watts of power at capacity. In any event, I do have one suggestion for the company that’s ostensibly still trying to make good on its motto of “don’t be evil.” You probably should’ve told the Stormtrooper guarding your server racks to shove off before you let the Street View cameras in.

See more of Google’s data centers on their new site.

[Hat tip: BuzzFeed]