back to article Google launching its own navy?

About 70 per cent of the Earth is covered by water. So Google's thinking it had better build some data centers that can float. With a recently-released patent application, the search giant cum world power seeks exclusive rights to what it calls a "water-based data center". This modular collection of processing, storage, and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And if...

    they just happen to become a major world-wide ISP with their own infrastructure and servers outside the territorial waters of any country and exempt from stupid laws, well....

  2. Anonymous Coward

    There are some problems with your comment:

    It'll never fly.

  3. Haro

    Outer space

    You forgot their rocket ship!

  4. Nick

    Not that amazing...

    I'm surprised they've not already been doing this, after all, heat exchanging with seawater has been done in power stations and other industries for years. Using a wave generator is a good idea (if not a little obvious), plus I guess you could strap wind turbines and solar panels to the boat too. The biggest challenges I can foresee are being able to generate enough power, being able to get big enough data pipes, and mounting the hard drives in stable platforms so you don't get multiple head crashes in the event of 'choppy conditions'.

  5. Joe Harrison

    Global Warming

    All these environmentalists going on about the ice caps melting... well, what about s fleet of heat-pumping ocean-cooled data centres in the middle of the ocean?

  6. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    sounds like an old joke...

    A smart guy proposed a sure fire way to get all German subs (think WWII) to the surface: boil the seas. When asked "How do you propose to boil the seas?!", he answered: "hey, that's not my problem, I proposed the solution, you workout the details".

    Well, 60 years later, I think we found it

    My coat is the one with heat sinks stitched...


  7. Anonymous Coward

    And what happens when

    Frikkin Sharks with Frikkin <hand motion> " </hand motion> lasers <hand motion> " </hand motion> attack?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    On closer inspection...

    Why does that diagram remind me of the The Goodies' pirate radio station and GPO*? I am not suggesting that the Google boys may end up as jackbooted megalomaniacs drowned by their own fevered dreams of world domination... merely prior art.

    Googies. Googy googy yum yum**.

    * It's TV, people. But possibly not as you know it.

    ** My God, the longer I draw this bow the more sense it begins to make! Could L & S literally be the long lost North American Goodies franchise - doing anything, anytime without the vital balancing influence of an effeminate, conservative, third partner or the British self deprecating sense of humour?

    Anything, anytime people! ANYTHING. ANYTIME. Why aren't we stopping them???

  9. Seán

    Data Pirates

    MS should build a fleet of subs with torpedoes like in that bond flick. Ellison probably has one already.

  10. Matthew
    Gates Horns

    I bet they won't be running on windows for warships!

    Looks like M$ has beaten them to it. As soon as its floating i bet every Surface to surface missile will "missfire" ... and accidently land on there floating server

  11. James Cleveland

    Will it take the form of...

    ...some sort of raft? Comprised of a giant flotilla strung together around the USS Enterprise?

    Luckily "Larry Page" is not an anagram of "L. Bob Rife".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is this inspired by global warming? Are they preparing for the World Wide Water? Will the only music download available be "A Walk in the Black Forest"?

  13. Kevin
    Thumb Up

    wonder when

    will The Pirate Bay try and get one to host their servers bound to be cheaper than buying their own country

  14. Donald Becker

    IDS? I thought that vapor has dissipated

    They announced long ago, and were to have a fully operational ship by the ballpark in San Francisco in April. Even at the time the scheme sounded... not well grounded. The only way it would make is if there was a tax or zoning dodge involved.

    This concept is similarly ill-conceived -- a mishmash of concepts that sound good but are not practical in real life. But if anything similar happens they can take credit for having though of it "first".

    For example, generating power from wave action. There is a lot of power in waves, but it's very diffuse. Too diffuse to effectively harvest. Even if it's concentrated to the surface by a gently sloping bottom, there are only a few sites where it's worth (marginally) building energy conversion facilities.

    And using water-based heat exchangers? It's done all over, and you don't have to be aboard a ship to do it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Just recycle hardware...

    Use an old nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Tens of thousands of square feet of space on the hanger deck, loads of electrical power available, self-mobile, and they could probably operate a Gulfstream off of it as well.

    Or black helicopters...


  16. Neil Hunt
    Thumb Up


    Radio Goooogle


  17. John Campbell

    Blup blup blup

    and if it stops working you can be given the completely honest excuse that "the server has gone down"

    Sorry, couldn't resist that.

  18. ratfox
    Thumb Down

    And they're applying for a patent?

    On putting a data center on a boat?


    I don't have the chutzpah to be a successful engineer, I guess. I could understand a patent on details of the idea, like the wave power generator. But I would have never thought of asking for a patent on "putting loads of computers on a boat".

    Doesn't the Navy have a few computers on air carriers? Wouldn't that be prior art?

    Wait until they apply for a patent on "data centers in the jungle" "data centers in snowy regions" "data centers in rainy regions" "data centers with solar panels on top" "data centers with a yellow ceiling"...

  19. Niall


    No doubt the Pirate Bay will be claiming prior arggghrt.

  20. Ru

    "heat-pumping ocean-cooled data centres"

    Human thermal output is inconsequential compared to slar thermal input. Global warming isn't about us warming up the planet directly, it is about us insulating it letting the sun heat it up more than usual.

    Allegedly, etc.

  21. Jon

    google datacable

    Perhaps the new datacenters can hook directly into the new google undersea cable.

    Also the biggest problem with disks on ships is not the waves but the trhob of the engines that seem to be just the wrong frequency.

  22. dervheid

    Their building their own...

    Evil Lair, probably connected to those cables they are/were laying in the pacific. This'll be the hub of the Googlian Pacific Empire.

  23. Anton Ivanov

    Few points:

    Re: Not that amazing...

    Actually data is not a problem. A datacenter like this is likely to sit at most a few hundred miles off-shore so running fiber to it is no big deal.

    Re: I bet they won't be running on windows for warships!

    As long as they decide to generate any power locally they are likely to end up using Windows for Power Stations which is even worse. SCADA bless it...

    Re: IDS? I thought that vapor has dissipated

    Well... Havenco was there first. So they do not get even that. In fact, building a purpose ship for this is as stupid as it gets and even than some. There are plenty of old oil and gas platforms that can be refloated, moved to suitable sites and reused for a bag of peanuts. Boeing with SeaLaunch has the right idea and I am surprised that the silicon valley has not picked up on it yet. In fact at the current price of land and power (and respectively cooling) it is probably cheaper to refurbish platforms for datacenters than build them in most countries in Europe.

  24. alistair millington
    Thumb Up


    Google will be on hand in an disaster zone with some servers. Typical.

    Bunch of hungry, cold, wet and deprived people really need access to the internet when all their worldy posessions were washed, blown, crushed along with their house, family members.

    How did the military or aid agencies manage disasters without an off shore server farm nearby.

    Is it April the first or is this more about off shore and therefore in international waters than actual help.

  25. Outsider

    Shipping Forecast

    The weather during the next week will be calm and sunny as high pressure moves across the.......

    Hey... the server's gone down.

    Ship based datacentre...good enough idea without the ecofluff... but then maybe the fluff was put there by PR to con the media into polishing the Googlehalo.

    coat....nah not in this weather pass me the sunscreen and shades.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    international waters?

    the fact that this enables them to operate in international waters with its 'particular' legal regime probably won't have motivated them to investigate this possibility...

    reminds me of 1970's radio stations

  27. Tim
    Jobs Horns

    Creating the conditions for their own success?

    I'm sure we've been told that heating the oceans by tiny fractions has the power to amplify the force of storms. It therefore follows that Google may well be creating the very conditions where their new [war] ships will come into their own.

    Let's just hope that they can provide ample access to youtube to people in disaster areas, to help them maintain a sense of perspective.

    We will have to assume there will be significantly more space lasers on the finished design...

  28. Edward Miles


    Shiver me timbers! Whose up for some terror on the high seas? Where once we plundered for gold dubloons, now we must plunder for silicon chips! Arrrr!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sick of the Googies

    This is yet more Google balls. How much longer will we have to suffer the embarrassingly trendy output from this lot?

    I for one do not welcome our pat pending marine overlords.

  30. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    At least this obvious patent is a waste of time

    When Google threaten legal action for patent infringement, the captain can reply "I am in internation waters so I am beyond the reach of US patents."

    Come on patent trolls, patent the floating patent office!

  31. Hollerith

    I want to see a secret isalnd

    A volcano with underway sub docks and a cone that opens up for some big bit of kit (rockets, antennae) to emerge from the top, plus a big circular room in the centre where technicals in uniform attend a thousand blinking lights while S and L sit stroking white Persian cats. "Say goodbye to your data, Mr Bond."

  32. Anonymous Coward

    And they're going to make money ouf of this how, exactly?

    Your family's been washed away, you livlihood's gone, but never mind, the big boat in the bay cooking the fish you were planning on living off means you're still on facebook!

  33. Tim Bergel

    What use is this for emergencies?

    Why do you need a data center anywhere near where an emergency has happened? Surely if there is enough network infrastructure left for this to be any use, all you have to do is to find a way of re-connecting it to the Internet - some sort of mobile, self-powered satellite link would seem appropriate. Can't see that emergency operations would produce overmuch communications load unless everyone is trying to upload video of the disaster.

    Much more plausible that they want to be in international waters

  34. Piloti

    Data centre in a box..... i'm in one now.

    This thing about a data centre in a container ?

    What is the definition of a data centre.. ? Telco hardware suppliers have been delivering this soluti0on for years, in fact, I'm sat in one now : a switch site in a containers, lots of sun boxes, lots of 'proprietary' boxes and cabinets, in fact, lots of data.

    Does this invalidate Googles claims for a 'world wide patent' ?

    They are arses......

  35. Anonymous Coward

    The final frontier

    I hope Google are also looking at interplanetary data centres. The US military are already working on interplanetary internet and it'd be a damn shame if someone else beat them to a Martian search engine.

  36. Sureo

    What about Sealand?

    It was supposed to be a "data haven". Now they want to build a casino there.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Snow Crash prior and art ?

    as I recal it had an offshore Internet\media empire, oh yer and they where trying to take over the Internet or what ether it was called.

  38. Mike


    Google = Skynet..

    Now where is John Conner?

  39. L1feless
    Paris Hilton


    Permission to hack your ship?

    Paris: Because she has no idea what I just said.

  40. dave lawless

    international waters?

    that fibre has to come to shore somewhere & wherever it does there'll be an individual from the Inland Revenue and an individual from Customs and Excise waiting (or whatever their regional nomenclature would be) oh and maybe an individual from the Ministry of Culture and Sport with a set of extreme porn guidelines.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    "Solution" to the legal problem

    Now that most of the civilized world are clamping down on their operation with privacy laws, this seems to be their method of avoiding the problem. Which jurisdiction would their floating storage center be subject to?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Why

    To rebuild infrastructure. While the day-to-day surviving is important for Joe Sixpack, the gov will need to be thinking about how to rebuild the economy.

  43. Dave

    Googlespaceplexes @ L1 - 5

    There are a quantity of positions in the orbit of a planet around a starcalled Lagrange points (; datacenters located here (theoretically) need no energy to stay on-station. Google would have to sucessfully patent gravity to patent the G'plexes there, that should cost Sergei & Larry a few bucks!

  44. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    The Good Ship Google ......and Yellow Submarines ? Champions of Peopled Republics/Chaotic Domains.

    And don't forget there's always Octopusses on Patrol, for Parolees. IT Whizzes who toppled off the Tracks and ITs Rails.

    "wonder when" .... By Kevin Posted Tuesday 9th September 2008 04:29 GMT

    I was wonder the Self Same Thing, Kevin. IT's Made to Measure and Plays with Pleasure.

    "international waters? ..that fibre has to come to shore somewhere & wherever it does there'll be an individual from the Inland Revenue and an individual from Customs and Excise waiting (or whatever their regional nomenclature would be) oh and maybe an individual from the Ministry of Culture and Sport with a set of extreme porn guidelines." ...By dave lawless Posted Tuesday 9th September 2008 13:51 GMT


    The fun they would have though if the fibre content was Home Grown Erotography ..... for ESPecially Addictive XSSXXXXual Active Direct ProgramMINg ........ for Fine Tuning Virtual Turing Machines ....... NIRobotIQs ProgramMIng...... Network InterNetworking Robot IQs LLanTwittering Major and Minor Scales.

    Or is Sex a Forbidden Weapon. It is Certainly a Foreboding Foe when Crossed for Selfish Gains.

    And will someone plug in PO Box 1300 and Crank it up to Speed. Or is it a Dead Parrot.

  45. Bounty

    can I be the

    first to claim airborne data centers running from solar wings / ballon tech?

    space data centeres running from solar panels.

    undergound data centers running from heat exchange with the earth.

    undersea data centers running from wave power and heat exchange.

    distributed data centers running everywhere from everything. Google@home

  46. Ian Michael Gumby

    It would be a crime if this patent is allowed...

    First there is nothing new nor novel about this patent.

    As other posters point out... Data Centers in a Box. *yawn* been there done that.

    Using the sea/ocean/lake's water temperature to help cool the equipment. Again nothing novel, nothing new.

    Using the wave motion to power a generator? Hmmm don't think Google's got the patent on that technology...

    So as you can see, its a combination of things that are obvious... if you can get the wave generators to work.

    As to ship to shore communication... Low earth sats, or even wi-max if you want a sustainable presence off shore of a major city on the water's edge....

    I did a quick glance... Did they also add solar or wind turbines too for power?

    Maybe a small nuke generator? ...

  47. Henry Cobb

    Tide me over

    Wouldn't it make more sense to build a tank resting in shallow water and run a turbine off the tides coming in and out each day.

    Until the laser sharks shoot down the moon that is.

  48. Ed


    Hmmm anyone wanna split the cost of an ex russian carrier.....

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