back to article Google spends in three months on data centers what used to take a year

Google spent a whopping $US2.35bn on its data centers in the first quarter of 2014. The expenditure was revealed by Google on Wednesday deep within its financial results and demonstrates how much the company has grown in the past decade, considering that it spent the same amount during the entirety of 2008. In other words, …


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  1. Bernard

    Blinking is something the company will struggle to do at any level of capital expenditure.

    Google's push into the corporate cloud space is going to be interesting. They are among the last companies most people would trust with their company data.

    'Oops, we plugged the wrong cable in and have accidentally analysed all your customer data. On the plus side, they'll be getting more precisely targeted ads from now on.'

    1. Chris Miller

      I think Google's line is much more likely to be: "We'll store all your data for free, as long as you allow us to analyse it so we can target ads at your customers".

      1. Matt 21

        Sometimes I wonder about all of this.....

        We're told that Google are really clever and process masses of data with wonderful technology and that we all ought to copy them.

        Perhaps the truth is that their growth has been fuelled by easy cash which means they used whatever technique their developers thought of first and then threw money at the hardware to make it work and then more money to try and make the original idea work.... It wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that data was massively duplicated as well due to projects running independently without any consideration to any other project.

        In which case we oughtn't copy them unless we're sitting on a shed load of cash we don't care about throwing away.

        Still, the people behind Google are rich enough so probably don't care......

        There endeth my day dreaming for the day :-)

        1. Don Jefe

          Ultra wealthy and 'don't care about money' can't coexist in a single entity. It's a personality trait, or depending on who you ask, a psychological disorder. They can't stop it anymore than severe alcoholics, sex 'addicts', gamblers or serial killers can stop.

          People with those traits all talk about it too. How after a certain point there is no joy, or purpose, in what they it's just what they do. Their 'thing' now owns them instead of the other way around, and it's weird and sometimes quite sad.

          The guy who founded the VC group I'm with has been in the top 100 money lists since the early 90's. He started out wanting to get rich so he could have yachts, jets and castles, and he got them all. But he's spent less than two weeks on his yacht in the 15 years he's owned it and he owns a pre revolution chateau in France that he's only visited once. It's great work if you're staff who live on the boat or the chateau or buy the rare things he fills them up with and it's exactly what he always wanted. Unfortunately he feels he doesn't have time to enjoy them because there are always opportunities to make more money.

          He's no different than other extremely wealthy people. They all do that and you'll never meet one who will say 'it's only money' or 'it's OK if we're not making more'. The ability to be satisfied with a few millions, or even $100 million, doesn't exist in them anymore than my ability to leave an open, but not empty bottle of bourbon sitting around.

          1. Matt 21

            @Don I have to disagree

            Well, in one respect anyway. I agree that a lot of wealthy people, like the one you describe just can't stop but this isn't quite the same thing.

            Look at the early days of mobile phone companies. They were (and many still are) run ridiculously badly because they were making so much money they just didn't care. All they looked for was "the next big thing". If the marketing people said we need X it didn't matter how stupid it was, that's what we did. Testing didn't matter, just get it to market.

            It's only now that mobile technology is becoming a commodity that this sort of thing is stopping (well there are some projects.....).

            I was suggesting that Google may be in this early phase too.

            1. Don Jefe

              Re: @Matt, Good Point

              You make a very valid point. There are more than a few companies that are just atrociously managed, and they don't seem to care.

              If we disregard individual company product bias and just look at the way companies are run I think there's a significant difference between a Google, Microsoft, Dell or Oracle and those poorly run companies. It's that their founders are still involved with their companies and are responsible and interested in how they are run.

              Obviously MS has changed a lot as Bill Gates has distanced himself, but he's still involved and certainly hasn't disappeared into the jungle to polish his qi (or whatever people do with those). Michael Dell was so dissatisfied with how his former baby was being run he did leave the jungle and get back into a horrible lifestyle that only the ultra wealthy find unsatisfying. Larry Page showed a lot of wisdom bringing in Eric Schmidt to make him even wealthier but he wasn't satisfied partying the world in a private jumbo jet and came back to work. Larry Ellison has more access to his wealth than anybody except a few Arabs and less overhead than any of the rich people (really, you wouldn't think it, but they all have bigger bills, more debt and less liquid cash) and I'm pretty sure that guy is just too damn mean to die as long as he stays at Oracle.

              The mobile companies never really had any of that. It's been fuck it and let's go golfing because, as you say, they didn't care. But they aren't ultra wealthy, just very wealthy, and as far as I know all the managment has always been comprised of professional managers who simply don't have the wherewithal to be part of that 'special' class of loon that sees money as an end in itself and not a means to get hookers and cocaine delivered to them by blimp courier.

              You may be right, and time will certainly tell, but as a rule, explosive spending at these proportions is almost always done on the back of big outside investment or IPO. It's extremely rare to see it coming from company money.

      2. TheVogon

        The Borg

        "Google's push into the corporate cloud space is going to be interesting. They are among the last companies most people would trust with their company data."

        +1 - they are not known as The BORG without good reason. Plus most of their stuff is Open Source, so undoubtly has many security holes that can be easily discovered by a motivated attacker.

  2. Big Al
    Paris Hilton

    Trust v Stability

    Confidentiality is indeed a huge issue - although a cynic (realist?) might assume that various governments are probably able to access your stuff already, wherever it is, anyway.

    On the other hand, with all those data centres Google may have an advantage in terms of not losing your data (which will exist in several places), and in guaranteeing uptime.

    You pays your money and you takes your choice, I guess.

    But what would Paris Hilton do?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And remember WE are all paying for this whether you like it or not - Adwords gets more and more expensive in the bidding auction to get traffic and that it a significant cost for many businesses. Sure you could argue companies have always advertised and that cost was passed on but these days there is very little in the way of competition and it's a bidding war between competing companies who end up paying more for the same or less traffic.

    At least with Apple you only pay for them if you use their products.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No such thing as a free lunch...

    2. Don Jefe

      Google didn't invent online advertising you know. Adwords is a fairly terrible platform and is best suited to tiny shops. I'll never understand why El Reg uses it as there are most certainly plenty of options out there.

      Regardless, everybody pays some extra for things they'll never own or even know exist. That's what currency is really for & why it's most difficult to trade previous metals, gemstones and livestock for houses and whores anymore.

      If you own anything containing titanium, any footwear with Vibram soles, have a saddle with interchangeable composite gussets, own a precision target rifle manufactured after 2004, ride or live in a country that used trains with wire wheels, have anything containing materials developed with research done with particle accelerators (the safety glass in your car, CD's, some labware and drinking vessels), some brands of submersible camera enclosures, seat belts, eat honey or products containing honey, enjoy those chocolate candies with unique melting properties that have an upside down 'W' on them, or own a building with a blast door, or scads of other common stuff you're paying a little premium to me to cover the costs of the equipment I've built for those companies or the companies who provide things to those companies. Neat huh?

      I created a name for these systems, but apparently some asshole named 'History of Civilization' already had 'economy' registered. Fucking USPTO right? Those guys are just so unorganized. Maybe I should just refile. It's a lot easier to do that these days you know. I pay a small fee to connect a phone designed and made with parts made by employees in dozens of countries to access a network run on equipment made by lots of different people that's used by software created by lots of other people to fine a trademark application that's dealt with by an entire agency made up of equipment and people. My first patents and trademarks had to be done with actual paper! The supply/process chain was a bit different, the paper was made in this country, but that's about all.

      I had no idea all those people went to work everyday, for free. But now that you've clued me in I know I don't have to pay for anything because those people are all so generous they'll work for free, just out of the kindness of their hearts. I bet they're all Canadian. That's just a nice lot, those Canadians.

  4. Stevie Silver badge


    "Just think of the tax write-down they'd be entitled to - if they hadn't incorporated in Upper Bumfuck to avoid paying any US tax in the first place." Senator Joseph King.

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