When you're on a Google website (like right now), you're accessing one of the most powerful server networks in the known Universe. But what does that actually look like? Here's your chance to see inside what we're calling the physical Internet.
Who's behind the doors of the vast global web we call the Internet? Rocket scientists? Sure. But also zombie marathoners, board game enthusiasts and classic car fanatics.
What makes a good hometown for the Web? Whether it’s the Finnish waters of Hamina or the factory town of Lenoir, North Carolina, we look for locations that will help make our data centers as efficient as possible.
Google has been working for years to optimize our data center designs in order to minimize our environmental footprint. A good example is at our Douglas County, Georgia facility where we built a water processing facility and treatment plant in order to make sure our water usage didn’t take fresh water away from the local community.
At our data center in Pryor, Oklahoma, we've built strong ties with the Cherokee community. We've created over 100 jobs and awarded grants to local schools to help them upgrade their equipment so students can stay ahead of the curve.
One of the reasons Google chose the city of Lenoir, North Carolina is its roots as a factory town in the furniture industry. Since furniture mills used a lot of power, we were able to reuse much of the existing power infrastructure. Lenoir is now home to the Internet, but also to our data center employees. Because of this, we've awarded more than 0,000 in grants and provided over M in free advertising to local nonprofits. We've also invested in several green initiatives, including a project to turn hog waste into renewable energy.
Our data center in Belgium is notable for being the first to operate without water chillers. That's because we're able to use the climate to cool water without electricity in a process called “free cooling.” Also, the St. Ghislain center has an on-site water purification facility that allows it to use water from a nearby industrial canal rather than use the city's water supply.
Here among Oregon’s rolling hills, snow-capped peaks and brisk Columbia River, we make Google products and services available to the entire world. The Dalles data center location was chosen for its mild climate and access to hydroelectric power. Our staff has continued this green thinking by starting a community garden on one corner of the site.
We had the unique opportunity to salvage an old paper mill in Hamina, Finland and use the pre-existing infrastructure to build a data center there. The large site sits on the beautiful Baltic Sea and is able to use raw sea water, piped through a pre-existing tunnel, to cool our servers naturally. After the cooling process, we dissipate the remaining heat and mix it in with more seawater before using it for cooling again.
Here in Berkeley County, we’ve tried to give back more than jobs to the community. We’ve made an investment of over half a million dollars to local schools and nonprofits and introduced free Wi-Fi to downtown Goose Creek. In June 2012, we hosted Googlefest in nearby Charleston to help nonprofits, small businesses, and educators use the full range of Google’s tools.
We're always looking to improve the way we run our data centers by pursuing innovation in efficiency and quality control. Here in Council Bluffs, Iowa, we found a way to use renewable energy by purchasing power from a nearby wind farm. This helps support local green initiatives as well as shrink our footprint overall.