12 Beautiful Photos Of Google’s (Problematic) Data Centers

They're gorgeous images, published with convenient timing.

Pipes carry water to and from a data center In The Dalles, Oregon. Google

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Two things need to be said about these images of data centers–the server storage areas for tech giants–just released from Google: a) They’re breathtakingly beautiful, and b) They’re a breathtakingly beautiful PR push.

It’s not a coincidence that these images are being released after a report from The New York Times about the wastefulness of data centers. Only a fraction–6 to 12 percent–of the energy used in such centers, The Times reported, went to computational services. Facebook was slammed by the investigation, but so was Google: The search company uses almost 300 million watts to power its centers, and it doesn’t always go to good use. “[D]ata centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid,” they wrote.

So it’s not surprising that so many of the images released by Google would highlight efficiency and environmental friendliness–water vapor means “our cooling towers are at their most efficient,” while several photos show the tech that goes into keeping the servers cool.

But they’re still a lovely look at the rarely-seen centers, even if the glasses you’re looking at them through aren’t so rose-colored.

New York Times