back to article Google Chocolate Factory patents Data Center Navy

The Mountain View Chocolate Factory has received a patent on its plans for a navy of podified data centers. On Tuesday, the US Patent Office gave Google exclusive rights to what the search giant cum world power calls a "water-based data center." This collection of Googlicious data center pods would sit on some sort of sea …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    You forgot something ...

    "We wouldn't be surprised if somewhere in Mountain View, tucked into Bond-villain-esque underground liar, there's an epic sea-water tank, a wall of wave machines, and a prototype."

    And sharks. With frickin' lasers on their heads.

    Mustn't forget the sharks.

  2. Gilbert Wham

    What happens...

    ...when I roll up with my glass knives, riding my motorcycle with the nuke for a sidecar & take the place over? Eh? What then?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    what is patentable here?

    Computers on ships.. Prior air

    water cooling.. prior art

    power derived from water.. prior air

    Just because it is a data center should have no bearing on the fact that it is a platform that pulls power and cooling from water.. it is a building that is cooled and powered by water simply that and nothing more.

    Also notice how vague the idea is.. a patent should be very specific.. not something like be able to obtain its cooling and power by some means. In what method is the temperature transfer taking place? How exactly are you pulling power from the water? How is the computer room of your data center different from any other modern large ship at sea? Are these modifications to existing patented items or using entirely new technology?

    The patent clerk that accepted this should have been fired!

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    A three hour tour

    I look forward to the first headlines of dot-coms going out of business because their datacenters are held hostage by pirates, beached on a remote island after a storm, or have insufficient positive elevation.

  5. Ivan Voras


    This is simply a fantastic background for some geek-oriented mil-SF... think huge slow "brains of the operation" datacenter ships (either in the sea or in the space), controlling everything in the combat arena... either indirectly or directly, with war drones.

  6. Shane McCarrick
    Thumb Down


    Surely the prior art of the likes of Sealand (remember that glorified oil rig in the North sea that declared independence years ago- and subsequently became an errrrr data centre) might nullify this patent?

  7. Gabriel Vistica

    "Don't forget the sharks"

    Or the frickin' lasers.

    Or the mutant, ill-tempered, sea bass.

  8. Daniel Garcia
    Thumb Down


    My hairy arse.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Is there any way...

    ...that posters complaining about patents can be vetted for having the slightest clue what a patent is? Yerrghh... "OMG THEY PATENT THIS SO I IS GONNA PATENT BREATHING LULZ YOU OWE ME A MILLION DOLLARS"

    Spare me. There are serious issues with the patent system, and real problems with patent trolls, but the flood of "the internal combustion engine is prior art so you can't patent a specific method for applying hybrid technology" type flames completely drown out the sanity.

  10. Warhelmet

    Meh Glass Knives

    @Gilbert Wham - and me doggy. He called Natty Bumpo. Him offshore data ship should have a big trunk for eating methane clathrates. And der big turbines for spraying ocean into the sky. And him offshore ship - all da crew wear dataspex and farn algae.

  11. James Gibbons
    Thumb Down

    When are ideas an invention?

    "We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with," reads a canned statement from the company. "Some of those ideas later mature into real products, services or infrastructure, some don't."

    The patent office has clearly gone crazy! They should go back to requiring an actual physical invention that works. The possibility of patenting an "idea" without a full disclosure of a practical actual implementation is crazy. I recently looked at a patent from the 80's that didn't work and was also vague on the implementation. When someone comes along and actually provides an actual working system it only allows the trolls to take it away.

    Not that this Google invention wouldn't work. It just sounds like they like to file patents for the fun of it.

  12. M Gale
    IT Angle


    ...only apply within national waters, don't they?

    Isn't the whole point of these datacentres that they are located outside of national jurisdiction?

    And yes. Floating ship with computers on it. Next you'll tell me that some company tried to apply a patent to sudo.

    Oh, wait..

  13. Tanuki
    Thumb Down

    Plus ca change......

    Er... I think Ronan O'Rahilly and the Radio Caroline crew got there in about 1965

  14. Unlimited
    Thumb Down


    The USPTO might as well be shut down and replaced with a website where you upload a picture of your invention ( preferably vague and scribbled ), send them $10 and they email you your patent details.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe this finally explains those two pools at the Googleplex

    small-scale outdoor testing facilities? Could be..

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "And as Data Center Knowledge points out, such computing centers would be free of real estate and property taxes."

    Probably also free of peskier things, such as copyright and patent laws.

  17. The Mighty Spang
    Thumb Down


    no problem with your backups being at the bottom of the sea then?

  18. Andrew Moore


    How soon before the Boys from Somalia start taking these over and then downloading all the MP3s for the international market.

  19. Pete

    A Conspiracy!

    Capt James Rand must be in league with the seagoing-chocolate-fish-factory farmers.

    Think what 'advances' a completely law-free undersea cloud could provide for corporate/government, normally 'bound' by their own laws/borders.


    Mines the one with amanfrommars's RFID tag in the pocket.

    Or maybe Paris, starring in Octopussy 2010 ???

  20. Janko Hrasko
    Thumb Down

    beginning of the end then

    NY under water, ooooogle going strong!


  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't get it,

    I don't get it, where's the invention, it's a boat with a data centre in it. Could someone draw a picture of an air ballon, with a datacentre in it, sits in jet stream, wind turbines for power, wind also cools system, information sent back to earth by microwave, also has solar panels and emergancy generator.

    IMO that isn't an invention - it's just a neat idea that if you had the tech and the cash and thought you could make money out of it you'd do it, but there ain't nought to stop anyone else from doing it. Sure they may not be able to use something that I had invented like a super dooper power converter for my props but the rest no problemo.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    i have a cunning plan for global warming and rising sea temperatures

    Instead of indirectly heating up the oceans, why dont we just haat them up directly.

  23. Jeff
    Paris Hilton

    Low Cost?

    Anyone who has ever owned a boat will be able to tell you just how much of a money pit they really are.

    This might be a good relocatable resource, but it won't come cheap.

    Paris, because she knows all about coming cheaply

  24. Joe H.


    Of course the data centers need to move off shore. That way Skynet can survive the nukes that target the human population centers.

    Watch for an update on this that mentions robotics on board the off shore, satellite linked data centers, and fate|>sealed.

    That they applied for a patent is really just rubbing our noses in it, and clearly illustrates how blissful the unaware can be, right up until th.... .... .... NO CARRIER

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Prior art?

    Given that most modern ships have servers on them, use water for cooling stuff and often have deployable generators to use the ships motion to generate electricity (as well as nuke stuff and big old engines) this new "idea" appears to have been in existence for years.

    I shall look forward to Google getting licence fee's from the US navy!

    Paris, her kind of dumb idea

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Don't get it AC

    welcome to the wonderful world of patent law: as long as your idea is novel, you can patent it. Once you've patented it, nobody else can do the same thing, at least not without paying you for the privilege.

    Anyone can say "I could have thought of that"

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Epic fail?..

    "No, I said sync the servers!"

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Mutant sharks (with or without lasers), visits from the Somalian navy, tsunamis, hurricanes, the occasional "hey who opened the stopcock"; and that perennial problem explaining to your CIO that your 100million dollar sitting duck just got blown out of the water by your competition (RPG optional).

    Being on a ship, WiMAX can only go 31 miles, which leaves satellite the only option if its outside territorial waters (any music with 'delay' in it is appropriate here).

    Thumbs up for Google: if everyone else can play the insipid patent guessing game why not them...

    Thumbs down also for Google: its an expensive mistake waiting to happen if anyone is stupid enough .. its like buying a water bed when you have a 3-year old; they can't wait to stick a pin it it.

    So the only icon applicable is stop.

  29. Edward Miles



    Yeah, good luck getting that out of your heads today, suckers!

  30. Anonymous Coward

    IP rights....

    Does anybody here really think intellectual property rights are enforceable in international waters anyway?

  31. Dave


    Okay, so they are going to anchor this 200 miles offshore? (That being the start of international waters)

    That is going to be a hell of a long Ethernet cable to hang over the side.

    Similarly for the 'mobile' version - how are you going to get any bandwidth once you have anchored in the mouth of a flooded river? If the answer is 'Satellite' then whats the point in being local?

    As for the AC comment about being novel - you missed the 'obviousness' exception: if any half-trained monkey would look at the problem and come up with the same solution then the patent is supposed to be regarded as 'obvious' and therefore rejected. Without knowing what this is supposed to be a solution to, it is difficult to be sure, but this does all seem fairly obvious to me, and I am not even a quarter trained marine engineer...


    Yahoo! Navy?

    I can see it now.....

    Yahoo buys a scrapped (your choice of country) submarine. Puts some cash into arms dealer's hands. Pays a short visit to where ever the ship is anchored.

    OOPS. Didn't mean to lean on that button.

    One part of my competitor is silenced.

    Could be fun. Think Google will spring for a DE?

    I'll take me coat now. It's the one with the 3 rings on the sleeve and the dolphins

  33. Dave Daurelle

    200 miles isn't a problem

    They simply tap into the undersea cables - lots of bandwidth there.

  34. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    It's for PORN!

    *** On Tuesday, the US Patent Office gave Google exclusive rights to what the search giant CUM world power calls a "water-based data center." ***

    Trying to get round various porn laws (Especaly the new UK one). Very clever thing there, dear internet seach king.

    Paris, because she knows everything to do with porn.

  35. Nathan Dennis
    Paris Hilton

    they missed a bit

    I had a quick scan of the patent and there appears to be no mention of how this data centre connects to anything.

    So in essence, its a cargo ship as without bandwidth it a chocolate teapot of a data centre.

    Paris, equally as effective as a data centre

  36. Nathan


    It's not a terrible idea actually, cheap to setup, low operational cost... Compared to massive solar powered data centers in the middle of a desert, Water-based data centers actually make financial sense. Of course you know this is the start of the "gMIL" Google's own private military to protect these floating fortresses.

    To everyone saying satellite communication is the only practical method of data transfer... How do you think satellites communicate in the first place... same way WiMAX works... its all MICROWAVES different ranges for different distances, I doubt Google would have any problem setting up a point to point microwave system to communicate directly with the mainland (you don't have to worry about mountains on the ocean). That would cut down on latency quite a bit...

  37. Charles Smith

    Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes

    We regret that Google cannot answer your query because we have been sunk by a Somalia Pirate Torpedo.

  38. Donald Miller

    Tax man's reach

    Outside the municipal reach is also outside the Patent Office's reach. And anchoring them anywhere makes reaching them by rubber skiff extremely easy. "Psst, buddy, wanna buy a slightly used server, data still intact?"

    For the first time I've felt it necessary to attach an emoticon. Ever see Steve Martin's "Roxanne?"

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