Bob Cringely is on fire again, with true punditry - and I mean that in a good way. His speculative article on Google's new datacenters is fantastic to read and think about. Basically, Cringley reminds us that Google leases a ton of fiber rights, and predicts that they will use it to subsume ISPs, build a giant parallel internet with datacetners in every state in order to provide video delivery bandwidth for everyone in the US.
However, in this case, I side more with Greg Linden's view: Cringely's speculation that Google wants to build a separate internet is just not "Googly". Instead, Greg writes:
"Trying to build a world of infinite storage, bandwidth, and CPU power, that is Googly."
Greg had an earlier post about how many servers Google has, and I commented on how hard it is to bring say, 50,000 new servers a year online. Suffice to say, Google's appetite for servers is large and growing.
Whatever Google may be planning to do, it doesn't have to be a lot more than what they are doing today for them to need to build 2 or 3 major new datacenters per year.
Google's query growth is easily over 40% per year, Google's revenue growth was over 70% last year, and the number of people working at Google grew about 100% from 5600 to something like 11,000. As the Google 2005 annual report put it: "Huge Growth and We're Still Behind"
In other words, the major reason Google is building these new datacenters is simply that they need the computers.
Having said that, if one waits long enough, the Cringely prognostication will probably come true.