Google controls more network fiber than any other organization. This is not to say that Google OWNS all that fiber, just that they control it through agreements with network operators.Robert concludes that Google is trying to corner the market on bandwidth:
Google is building a LOT of data centers. The company appears to be as attracted to cheap and reliable electric power as it is to population proximity.
Of course this doesn't answer the question why Google needs so much capacity in the first place, but I have a theory on that.
It is becoming very obvious what will happen over the next two to three years. More and more of us will be downloading movies and television shows over the net and with that our usage patterns will change.I doubt this is the reason. It just does not sound Googly to me.
Instead of using 1-3 gigabytes per month ... we'll go to 1-3 gigabytes per DAY ... a huge backbone burden on ISPs. Those ISPs will be faced with the option of increasing their backbone connections by 30X, which would kill all profits, OR they could accept a peering arrangement with the local Google data center.
I think the reason is what Google accidentally disclosed back in March 2006. In my post, "In a world with infinite storage, bandwidth, and CPU power", I quoted from slide 19 of a Google Analyst Day presentation:
[Google] is inspired by the idea of "a world with infinite storage, bandwidth, and CPU power."Maybe I am too idealistic, maybe a little naive, but I cannot see Google excited by Robert's idea of speculating on the value of bandwidth rights.
They say that "the experience should really be instantaneous". They say that they should be able to "house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)" which leads to a world where "the online copy of your data will become your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache"
Trying to build a world of infinite storage, bandwidth, and CPU power, that is Googly. That infrastructure, once built, would be a tool that makes the impossible possible.
It entirely explains the massive data centers and bandwidth acquisitions. And it is entirely Googly.
Update: Robert Cringely writes a follow-up article, "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?".