Google Catches Sea-Fever, Too

First it was Microsoft with the launch of it’s half billion $ new advertising campaign and now it appears that rival Google has also caught a case of Sea-Fever.

Ashlee Vance recently wrote in the NY Times Bits blog:

The search and advertising company has filed for a patent that describes a “water-based data center.” The idea is that Google would create mobile data center platforms out at sea by stacking containers filled with servers, storage systems and networking gear on barges or other platforms.

This would let Google push computing centers closer to people in some regions where it’s not feasible, cost-effective or as efficient to build a data center on land. In short, Google brings the data closer to you, and then the data arrives at a quicker clip.

Perhaps even more intriguing to some, Google has theorized about powering these ocean data centers with energy gained just from water splashing against the side of the barges.


The great BLDGBLOG had an excerpt from the patent application:

In general, computing centers are located on a ship or ships, which are then anchored in a water body from which energy from natural motion of the water may be captured, and turned into electricity and/or pumping power for cooling pumps to carry heat away from computers in the data center.

Pelamis Wave Power Ltd is an industry leader in wave energy and here’s how their generator/converter works:

YouTube – Wave power: how it works

In action:

YouTube – Pelamis Wave – Seatrials

Other articles

Google makes waves and may have solved the data center conundrum – ZD Net – September 8, 2008

Google files patent for wave-powered floating data center – CNET News – September 8, 2008

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Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

5 thoughts on “Google Catches Sea-Fever, Too”

  1. this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. Honestly – even steel ships are constantly degrading and rusting. I can’t think of any item on the planet which would get it’s ass kicked more by salt water than electronics. There’s plenty of land away from the corrosive atmosphere of the ocean where google could put data centers – wind powered, solar powered, anything else!

  2. Nice Videos. Its great to see work being done in this direction. I wonder how long its going to be before we see its derived applications on ships.


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