Google Granted Patent For Next-Gen Data Centers

    April 30, 2009

The top three things Google seems to consider when building data centers are real estate costs, electricity costs, and, perhaps, privacy.  And the next generation of data centers may do extremely well in all of these respects, as Google’s been granted a patent for water-based data centers. 

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Yes, according to an official document filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, "A system includes a floating platform-mounted computer data center comprising a plurality of computing units, a sea-based electrical generator in electrical connection with the plurality of computing units, and one or more sea-water cooling units for providing cooling to the plurality of computing units."

The patent application also specifies that these systems might be located between three and seven miles offshore.

So if Google follows through with the idea now that a patent’s been granted, it would solve almost all traditional data center problems in one fell swoop.  Although new issues related to connectivity and maintenance costs would almost certainly arise.

There is the possibility that Google will stop short of dotting the seas with data centers, then.  The patent application explained, "[A] data center may be located on shore, close to a body of water."  Or "other power mechanisms, such as wind power (e.g., from sea-based wind generator farms) and river current power may also be used," which would open up more land-related possibilities.