The Kansas City community has had a lot of questions about Google since the Internet giant announced it would build an ultra-high speed broadband infrastructure in Kansas City. Emissions from Information Technology are predicted to surpass those from aviation by 2020. This is important to Google, who operates one of the world's most advanced network of data centers running custom software and hardware. In fact, Google is the world's 4th largest server manufacturer in the world - only HP, IBM and Dell build more.
Electricity powered the Industrial Revolution and 100 years ago every manufacturer had an on-premises power plant to power all their machines - there were no central power stations or distribution networks for electricity. Then in December of 1880, after perfecting the light bulb of the time, Thomas Edison incorporated the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York to develop and install a central generating station. This power station would consist of a large central power plant, voltage controls and copper wires connecting the station to other buildings and ultimately to the light bulbs which would consume the electricity.
Today we take the electric grid for granted but many doubted businesses would ever outsource the generation of such a critical asset. Before we marveled at the ability to video chat with our smartphones, we were amazed that the flip of a switch could light up a room - or a factory. Edison's first power plant was located in lower Manhattan, NY and the community became the model for the modern electric grid. After 1 year of operation the plant had 513 customers - we know how the story ends. Soon Kansas City will be the model for the modern computing grid and the story has just started.
Data powers the Information Revolution and today many companies still have on-premises data centers. Google's founders, like Thomas Edison, believe there is a more effecient and economic way to deliver technology services to businesses and consumers. The central power stations, these networks of data centers, are the engines of the Internet and modern computing. Efficiency is incredibly important to Google. Being "green" is not only an important aspect of being a good corporate citizen, it is critical to running a competitive business. If all data centers operated at the same efficiency as Google's, the U.S. alone would save enough electricity to power every household within the city limits of Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
Electricity has always been a precious commodity - we just forget how amazing it is sometimes.