Google has today given the world given a rare glimpse inside the vast data centres around the globe that power its services.
Articles by Associated Press and Mail Online reveal an intricate maze of computers that process Internet search requests, show YouTube video clips and distribute email for millions of people. There's also a great new Google website.: Where the Internet Lives
With hundreds of thousands of servers, colourful cables and even bicycles so engineers can get around quickly, the centres range from a converted paper mill in Finland to custom made server farms in Iowa.
Google has eight major data centers at present. In the US they are in South Carolina, Iowa, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Oregon. In Europe they are in Finland and Belgium. New data centers are being built in Chile; Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
"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," the firm 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.
"Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centers and pay them a virtual visit.
"On Where the Internet lives, our new site featuring beautiful photographs by Connie Zhou, you’ll get a never-before-seen look at the technology, the people and the places that keep Google running."
The site features photos from inside some of the eight data centers that Google Inc. already has running "
Virtual tours of a North Carolina data centre also will be available through Google's 'Street View' service, which is usually used to view photos of neighborhoods around the world.
The photographic access to Google's data centers coincides with the publication of a Wired magazine article about how the company builds and operates them.
With more than 1 billion people using its services , Google has been a frequent target of privacy complaints around the world, said the Mail Online.
Google studies Internet search requests and Web surfing habits in an effort to gain a better understanding of what people like. Advertising accounts for virtually all of Google's revenue, nearly $23 billion through the first half of this year.