Google shows what's under the hood

01:06, Oct 18 2012
Google Data Center
Energy-efficient blue LEDs on this row of servers tell Google everything is running smoothly.
Google data center
Blue pipes supply cold water and the red pipes return the warm water back to be cooled at Google's Oregon data center.
Google data center
The fibre optic networks at Google can run at speeds that are more than 200,000 times faster than a typical home internet connection. The fibre cables run along the yellow cable trays near the ceiling.
Google data center
A data centre in Hamina, Finland, is a renovated old paper mill, taking advantage of the building's infrastructure and proximity to the Gulf of Finland's cooling waters.
Google data center
One place Google backs up information is in its tape library. Robotic arms, guided by unique barcodes, load and unloading tapes when Google needs to access them.
Google data center
Denise Harwood diagnoses an overheated CPU.
Google data center
Insulated pipes like these have a U-bend so they can expand and contract as the fluid temperature inside the pipe changes.
Google data center
Cables are organised by colour. On the floor, this can make things less technical: "Hand me a blue one."
Google data center
Ethernet switches allow Google to communicate with and monitor controls for the cooling system in its data centre.
Google dataq center
Storage tanks like these can hold up to 900,000 litres of water for cooling.

Google has opened up its data centres for the first time, showing the intricate maze of cables and computers that power much of the online world.

The internet company today launched a website, where users can take a look inside "where the internet lives".

"Very few people have stepped inside Google's data centres, and for good reason: our first priority is the privacy and security of your data, and we go to great lengths to protect it, keeping our sites under close guard," Google said.

"While we've shared many of our designs and best practices, and we've been publishing our efficiency data since 2008, only a small set of employees have access to the server floor itself."

Google has hundreds of thousands of servers located around the world, from a converted paper mill in Hamina, Finland to a warehouse in Iowa, United States.

The closest server to New Zealand will be in Singapore, with the company expected to complete a new building in Juroung West in early 2013.


"Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centres and pay them a virtual visit," Google said.

"You'll get a never-before-seen look at the technology, the people and the places that keep Google running."

The new website, Where the Internet Lives, features photographs of the servers and a virtual tour of Lenoir, North Carolina's data centre.