Do you ever wonder where it all comes from? The words you’re reading right now, the music you stream or the program your kids use to do their homework? All that stuff can’t be just floating around in space ... can it? The internet has to live somewhere, right?
Right. Every click you make online reaches across vast distances to retrieve information from racks of powerful computers inside some of the most secure buildings in the world. And then whatever you’re seeking appears in an instant. Even for the people who keep the machines running, the process feels like nothing short of magic. These buildings—where the Internet lives—are called data centers. Each data center exists in a real place, operated by real people in communities like Bridgeport, Alabama and Changhua County, Taiwan.
Even at Google, only about one percent of employees ever get to set foot inside a data center. So to demystify these warehouse-scale computing facilities, a small team of Googlers and I spent the last year exploring them. Through the process, we got to know the people who design, build, operate and secure these buildings. We connected with outside experts and community members whose lives intersect with this infrastructure that keeps the digital economy moving. And today, we’re releasing the result of all this work: a new six-episode podcast called Where the Internet Lives.
As you listen, you’ll get a rare glimpse behind the walls and through multiple layers of security, literally going inside the machines that power the internet, guided by the people who keep them humming.
Along the way, you’ll learn how data centers work, what they mean to the communities that host them, the reasons data centers are some of the most secure buildings in the world and how efforts to operate data centers on 24/7 clean energy are transforming electrical grids across the globe.
Subscribe to the podcast now to be transported—at nearly the speed of light—to Where the Internet Lives.
Click through the images below to read episode descriptions and take a peek at the engineering marvels that are today’s data centers.