Google opens window into a secret

Google is opening a virtual window into the secretive data centers where an intricate maze of computers process search requests, show YouTube video clips and distribute email for millions.

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    Patrick Davillier does a visual inspection of the water pipes running below the floor of a Google data center in Douglas County, Ga.
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    Oct. 16, 2012: Google offers a peek inside its Council Bluffs, Iowa, data center. Here, the company's campus network room, routers and switches that allowits data centers to talk to each other. The fiber optic networks connecting sites run at speeds that are more than 200,000 times faster than a typical home Internet connection, Google said.
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    Steam rises above the cooling towers in The Dalles data center in Oregon. These plumes of water vapor create a quiet mist at dusk, Google said.
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    The pipes aren't the only colorful things at Google's data centers. These cables at a facility in The Dalles, Ore., has brightly colred cables organized by their specific hue. On the floor, this can make things less technical, Google says: "Hand me a blue one."
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    As part of its commitment to keeping user data safe, Google says it destroys all failed drives on site, such as these drives at a data center in St. Ghislain, Belgium.
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    Thousands of feet of pipe line Google's data centers, like this one in Douglas County, Geo. Google paints them bright colors not only because it's fun, but also to designate which one is which. The bright pink pipe in this photo transfers water from the row of chillers (the green units on the left) to a outside cooling tower, for example.
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    Google's Council Bluffs, Iowa, data center provides over 115,000 square feet of space, the company said.
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