Google is everywhere. The "search, ads, and apps" company has designs on the air, sea, and land.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

September 8, 2008

2 Min Read

Google is everywhere. The "search, ads, and apps" company has designs on the air, sea, and land.Google has purchased the exclusive commercial rights to satellite images acquired by the just launched Geo-Eye 1 satellite. The images should be sharper than those available from the other satellite imagery providers that Google uses for Google Earth and Google Maps.

Google has also considered working with Space Data Corp. to put cell tower electronics on balloons floating in the stratosphere.

Google is thinking about floating data centers. Google has filed a patent application that describes floating platform-mounted water-cooled data center in a box that relies on electrical power generated by the tides.

"The data centers may be quickly and inexpensively constructed on land, such as in modular units, including standard shipping containers," the patent application explains. "They may then be hauled, as shipping containers, on trucks to the seaside, and may then be lifted in conventional manner onto a ship. Once on the ship, they may be connected to electrical and cooling services already on the ship, and the ship may deploy to an area in need of assistance. The ship may then anchor in an area offshore where wave or tidal motion is sufficiently strong or large so as to permit electrical generation and pumping power."

On land, Google already has dozens of data centers around the globe.

Google also sees value in digging deep. The company's philanthropic arm,, last month announced $10 million in investments and grants in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technology. EGS technology converts heat inside the Earth into electric power.

Google even wants to colonize "white space," the unused part of the TV broadcast signal that Google argues can be adapted to provide broadband Internet connectivity.

And that's to say nothing about real space. Google is backing an X PRIZE for the first privately-funded robotic rover that lands on the Moon.

Google is everywhere. Is that a good thing? I wish I knew.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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