Google, the world's most dominant search engine and most popular website, is used by 48.3 percent of all global Internet users and accounts for 5.3 percent of the total number of global pageviews, yet, very few people had ever seen the actual infrastructure responsible for Google’s omnipotence on the Web. That changed on Wednesday, when the search giant launched a new website featuring photographs and a Street View perspective of Google’s enigmatic data centers.
The best pictures from Google’s data centers can be seen in the photo gallery above.
“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,” wrote Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, on the company’s blog. “Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centers and pay them a victual visit.”
The new website, called “Where The Internet Lives,” features 54 photos from five Google data centers around the world, including centers abroad in Finland and Belgium, as well as US centers in Georgia, Oklahoma and North Carolina.
The only data center accessible via Google’s “Street View” perspective, popularized by Google Maps, is the company’s data center in Lenoir, N.C. There, Google invites global useers to “walk in the front door, head up the stairs, turn right at the ping-pong table and head down the hall to the data center floor,” or simply “take a stroll around the exterior of the facility to see our energy-efficient cooling infrastructure.”
For those users wishing to learn more about the story behind Google’s data centers, Google also allowed one reporter – Wired’s Steven Levy – to write the full story of Google’s data centers direct from the floor. In his story, Levy describes the thousands of miles of fiber and servers that create “the mother of all clouds.”
“This multibillion-dollar infrastructure allows the company to index 20 billion web pages a day,” Levy wrote. “To handle more than 3 billion daily search queries. To conduct millions of ad auctions in real time. To offer free email storage to 425 million Gmail users. To zip millions of YouTube videos to users every day. To deliver search results before the user has finished typing the query. In the near future, when Google releases the wearable computing platform called Glass, this infrastructure will power its visual search results.”
Google currently employs 54,604 workers and made $37.9 billion in revenue in 2011.