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Google is inviting the general public to take a look inside its data centers. It has launched a new website called Where the Internet Lives which offers virtual tours, photos and videos from Google's server facilities.
The Google Official Blog noted, "Very few people have stepped inside Google’s data centers, 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. 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." It then announced, "Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centers and pay them a virtual visit."
Google also invited Wired's Steven Levy to tour one of its facilities and describe its infrastructure. Levy wrote, "Here I am, in a huge white building in Lenoir, standing near a reinforced door with a party of Googlers, ready to become that rarest of species: an outsider who has been inside one of the company’s data centers and seen the legendary server floor, referred to simply as 'the floor.' My visit is the latest evidence that Google is relaxing its black-box policy."
The Economic Times noted, "Even as it allows anyone with a Web browser to peer into its data centers, Google intends to closely guard physical access to its buildings. The company also remains cagey about how many computers are in its data centers, saying only that they house hundreds of thousands of machines to run Google's services."
And ZDNet's Larry Dignan predicted that other cloud computing providers will be pressured to follow Google's lead in providing information about data centers. "Enterprises have known for years that data centers are a competitive advantage. For companies like Google and Facebook and cloud providers, data center prowess is a selling point," he wrote. "The upshot here is that data centers are likely to be popularized with the general public. In the not-too-distant future, tech giants everywhere will be yapping about their data centers."