Google Looks to the Open Seas For Cost-Cutting Solutions

Posted Sep 15, 2008 by Carolyn E. Price
In an attempt to reduce their operating costs, Google is considering using off-shore data centers that would run off wave energy.
Google Pirates
Google Pirates
In it's usual innovative and forward thinking way, it is being reported that Google may launch its own "computer navy" and move it's battle for internet domination off dry land, and out onto the high seas.
The Times Online reports that Google is thinking about deploying whatever number of supercomputers necessary to run it's massive internet search engine operations on barges. They would then anchor those barges about seven miles (eleven kilometers) off shore.
The dollars required to build and run the number of data centers that Google needs just to house the supercomputers to handle the massive amount of information flow is growing in leaps and bounds. The electricity required to keep those supercomputers cool is huge and this makes users of the internet not very "green". In 2005, data centers used about 1 per cent of the world's total electricity usage. And finally, if the barge/data centers were off-shore, Google would not have to pay property taxes.
A recent study by a consulting company and a think tank predicted that by the year 2020, the carbon footprint of computers that actually run the internet will be larger than that of air travel. In fact, today, the report found that greenhouse gases that are emitted from data centers are higher than the emissions from the countries of Argentina and the Netherlands
A patent application by Google reads as follows:
Computing centres are located on a ship or ships, anchored in a water body from which energy from natural motion of the water may be captured, and turned into electricity and/or pumping power for cooling pumps to carry heat away.
Google responded to the rumors of a possible off-shore armada that would be powered and cooled by wave energy with the following non-statement:
We file patent applications on a variety of ideas. Some of those ideas later mature into real products, services or infrastructure, some don’t.
In the wake of Hurricane's Ike, Hanna and Katrina, one would believe that safety of these data fleets would be a major concern.
Ahoy matey.