Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

47. Google's Floating Data Center

The hidden cost of the triumph of the Internet is the rise of the data center. The Net runs on huge complexes of hot, power-hungry servers that eat up real estate and energy in massive quantities — in 2006 data centers consumed a staggering 1.5% of the U.S.'s entire supply of electricity. Engineers at Google may have found a way out: the self-sufficient floating data center. According to a patent filed by Google, wind turbines and wave-powered generators will provide the electricity. Ocean water will cool the servers, which throw off huge amounts of heat. And offshore real estate is essentially free.