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The Bulletin

An inside look at Google's data centers

Posting in Design

Google has long kept details about its data centers--everything from the number of servers and design of the building to its energy use and --from the prying eyes of the public. Very few people, with the exception of its critical data center employees, have actually stepped foot into one of these facilities.

For the first time, Google has lifted the veil on its data centers to give folks a peek inside its facilities via a "virtual visit." Google's new site Where the Internet Lives provides an inside view of its data centers, including dozens of amazingly cool photos from Connie Zhou (pictured here) as well as information about the technology in these facilities and how the company protects your data.

Google began sharing some information about its data centers in the past year, including its best practices and some energy consumption information. This latest sharing session goes far beyond its previous efforts with its photos, interviews, a video tour and even its Google street view feature, which allows user to explore the company's Lenoir, North Carolina data center.

Google went one step further and let Steven Levy, a reporter from Wired behind the curtain.

All of this transparency matters as data centers, racing to keep up with our emails, video and Internet searches, gobble up an increasing amount of energy and store more of our private information. Security and energy efficiency are its two big challenges. Google has combated the latter with a host of solutions, such as creating a seawater-cooled data center in Finland and more simple innovations like turning up the thermostat in its data centers.

Photos: Google/Connie Zhou

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— By on October 17, 2012, 7:54 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure