DiscoverWhere the Internet Lives
Where the Internet Lives

Where the Internet Lives

Author: Google

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An award-winning podcast from Google about the unseen world of data centers.
28 Episodes
Hanoi Hantrakul is a musician and research scientist who works on audio and artificial intelligence. He is a former AI resident at Google working on creative applications of machine learning for music. His musical nom de plume is "Yaboi Hanoi."Project Magenta is a research group inside Google that started with a simple question: Can we use machine learning to create compelling art and enhance creative expression?As an AI expert and musician, Hanoi has worked on many different tools that expand the possibilities of musical composition. And thanks to the underlying technical innovations inside data centers, these tools are getting much better – opening the doors for musicians and non-musicians alike.Hanoi also won an international AI song contest with his composition titled “Enter Demons and Gods,” which mashed together AI instruments with musical influences from Southeast Asia.Listen to a full version of Hanoi's music, plus other AI song contest entries. Find out more information about Google's Project Magenta.
Mikko Green is an operations manager at Google's data center in Hamina, Finland. In 2012, when Mikko applied to work at the facility, he was excited about the prospect of moving back to the country where his mother was born.Over the years, Mikko has witnessed Finland's broader economic shift toward digital tech, which is now a top industry in the country. Finland is a top global producer of paper. But every year, paper demand falls – putting pressure on the industry. Faced with challenges in the pulp and paper industry, Finland is pursuing new forms of economic development. Data centers are one opportunity. For over a decade, Google has been operating a data center in Hamina, Finland, at an abandoned paper mill. The company has invested €2 billion in the Hamina data center and related network infrastructure – and hired workers who were formerly employed in paper production.Learn more about Google's investments in communities like Hamina.
Sarah Hess is one of a million union workers in the U.S. construction industry. But she’s a rare woman in the field. About 90% of the construction workforce is male – a number that hasn't changed much over the past three decades.Oregon Tradeswomen is an organization devoted to helping women like Sarah build careers in construction, manufacturing, mechanical, and utility trades. In 2022, Google gave $150,000 to the organization to support diversifying these industries. It's part of a multi-state effort at Google to support programs that elevate tradeswomen – some of whom will eventually build data centers.Sarah has faced many obstacles in her life: homelessness, drug addiction, and a life-threatening tumor. Her new career in the construction trade has helped her overcome many of those difficulties. Learn more about the Oregon Tradeswomen program.
The Netherlands has a unique relationship with water. One-third of the country lies below sea level, and almost 20% of the mainland is water – largely due to the 6,000 kilometers of waterways that support industry and recreation.Pumping and diverting and blocking water is what made the Netherlands possible, turning it into a vital European trading hub and top agricultural exporter. But now, the masters of controlling water are facing a new challenge: worsening drought.That’s why Google partnered with North Water, a Dutch water treatment company, to harness water from a network of canals to cool its data center. The €‎45-million project featured construction of a pipeline that can carry 10 million cubic meters of water each year to the data center. It also required a new treatment plant to treat and filter the water. The project illustrates the creative, sustainable methods for cooling data centers that Google is deploying around the world.Learn more about Google’s partnership with North Water and Google’s water sustainability commitments. After you listen to the episode, watch a short documentary film about the project here.
Ian Yang knew he was gay at an early age. But it wasn’t until arriving at Google that he felt comfortable opening up about his sexuality – eventually lighting a spark that made him a positive force in the political discussion around LGBTQ+ rights in Taiwan.Ian is an operations engineer at Google’s data center in Changhua County, Taiwan. He ensures that management and training processes run effectively inside the facility. He is also one of the coordinators of the largest Gay Pride parade in East Asia.Over the last decade, Ian has witnessed – and influenced – dramatic change in the politics around same-sex rights in Taiwan. Learn more about Google’s data center operations in Taiwan. Read about Google’s support of the LGBTQ+ community.
From Trauma to Triumph

From Trauma to Triumph


Note: this episode contains references to sexual assault. Please take care while listening.Data centers are the latest in a long list of big projects that Dave Moody has tackled over three decades running a construction company. But as an aspiring Black architect, he didn’t know if he’d ever have the same opportunities as his white counterparts.Racial disparities didn’t stop him. Dave started with a single $88,000 contract in the late 1980s and grew his company, CD Moody Construction, to build museums, stadiums, and airport terminals.As his business expanded, Dave had to face a personal trauma head-on – reckoning with the memories of childhood sexual abuse – and learn to live his life as a healed person, not just a survivor. That allowed him to seize on new opportunities, like when Google came looking for help with data center construction in Georgia. It also allowed him to become a model and mentor for others.Learn more about Google’s supplier diversity program. After you listen to the episode, watch a short documentary film about Dave and his journey  here.
A solar-centric world is coming. Solar generates just over 3% of the world's electricity. By the middle of the century, it could make up nearly 40% of global electricity consumption.That growth is made possible by sophisticated manufacturing, maturing business models, and fast-dropping costs. It’s also increasingly enabled by artificial intelligence – and the data centers that power it.Samuel Adeyemo is the co-founder of Aurora Solar, a company using AI to quickly model and execute millions of rooftop solar projects. Aurora partners with Google’s Project Sunroof to integrate vast geospatial data sets into the software.As the digital tools behind solar get more sophisticated, data centers have the potential to be the backbone of the clean energy economy.Learn how Project Sunroof is enabling more solar. To discover how data centers are  supporting clean energy around the globe, check out Google's 24/7 carbon-free energy mission.
Lenoir, North Carolina, was once a global furniture manufacturing hub. For Rachel Scercy, the furniture industry was the center of her family life. And then the jobs vanished in the 1990s.Today, communities like Lenoir are often seen as great sites for data centers because of their strong industrial histories. In 2007, Google built a $1.2 billion data center a mile outside of Lenoir, creating over a thousand jobs to date – hundreds in construction, and hundreds of permanent jobs in operations. Since then, the region has attracted more data centers from other top tech, retail, and entertainment companies. Intimately experienced with the ups and downs of Lenoir's economic transformation, Rachel is part of Lenoir's new generation of workers who are employed at a data center rather than in the furniture industry.Learn more about career opportunities and Google’s investments in communities like Lenoir.
In Tennessee, the digital future is merging with the ecological past. Clarksville, where Google has a data center, is home to a fragile ecosystem that has vanished across America: grasslands. What if we could use large campuses like data centers to transform land back into long-lost prairies – restoring ecological diversity and an important piece of American history? Dwayne Estes of the Southeastern Grasslands Institute is dedicating his life to making that a reality.After you listen to the episode, watch the documentary about grasslands restoration at Google’s data center.
A Preview of Season 3

A Preview of Season 3


Where the Internet Lives is back for a third season. Over the last two seasons, we’ve introduced you to the technologies and people that run data centers, unveiling a world few people get to see.This season, host Stephanie Wong explores how data centers change the world around them in surprising and transformative ways.We’ll hear stories about economic transformations, technological leaps, human rights, equity, and environmental progress – all enabled by data centers. Subscribe to Where the Internet Lives on Google podcasts, Apple, Spotify, or anywhere you get your shows.
Few people are ever allowed on a data center floor. Andreas van der Linden is one of those people. Andreas is a data center technician and the maintenance lead at Google's Eemshaven data center in the Netherlands. Every day, he and his team weave through aisles of server racks, making sure all the computers are running optimally.To become an expert at fixing computers, Andreas first had to become an expert at taking them apart. Today, Andreas leads a team that makes sure data center maintenance gets done on time and up to quality standards. But he never loses sight of his inner kid – and a passion for cracking open a computer himself to see what needs fixing. Learn more about building your career at a data center.
Building a data center can be as complex as the machines inside. It requires teams of construction experts who are constantly solving football field-sized puzzles – people like Sarah Godbehere. For Sarah, construction is a family affair. Growing up, she watched her father build schools, car washes, and office buildings. After getting her engineering degree, Sarah realized that she wanted to work on projects with immediate and tangible outcomes. And that led her to oversee construction of Google's data centers in Northern Virginia. As a program manager, she literally helps build new data centers from the ground up. Learn more about building your career at a data center.
Storing photos, taking video calls, or streaming podcasts creates heat. To  keep servers cool, many data centers utilize water running through pipes and along server racks.Teams across Google have been working intensively for more than a decade to use water as responsibly as possible. And in September 2021, Google unveiled a comprehensive plan to replenish 120% of the water it consumes, and improve the quality of water ecosystems in the places where it operates. Tara Varghese’s job is to make sure Google hits that target. Water conservation was an important part of Tara’s upbringing from an early age. Today, she leads Google’s corporate water stewardship efforts, and helps shape the company’s strategy for siting data centers and office buildings around the world. Learn more about building your career at a data center.
Over the years, Majd Bakar has overseen several critical consumer tech advancements inside Google: Chromecast, GoogleTV, Google Nest Wifi, and the cloud gaming platform Stadia. All of them are directly linked to the growth of data centers.From the moment Majd played with his first computer as a kid growing up in Syria, he has pursued a mission of making tech intuitive and accessible.Today, Majd uses his design expertise and biomedical engineering background to focus on personal health at Fitbit – and data centers are more important than ever to his work. Learn more about building your career at a data center.
Each individual server stacked high inside a data center is powerful in its own right. But without a way of linking them together, they aren't much use to anyone. It takes a vast collection of switches, cables, and software control systems to create a well-functioning global network. It is Bikash Koley’s job to connect Google’s fleet of data centers – and make that connection seamless and invisible to users.Growing up in India, Bikash first used a computer in high school. It didn’t take him long to get hooked on the concept of networking. Today, as VP and head of global networking, he directs a team of architects who design and build a network that can withstand traffic surges, natural disasters, and a global pandemic. He and his team work at the forefront of networking technologies that keep the internet humming.Learn more about building your career at a data center.
Mamoudou “D” Diallo's life path has taken him from being a curious youngster in Guinea-Conakry, to an engineering student in Ukraine, to a technology executive in the financial industry, to his role today as a site lead for Google’s data center in New Albany, Ohio. In that role, he addresses the staffing needs of a data center, which are as complex and diverse as the technology itself. Each facility needs the right mix of server technicians, mechanical engineers, networking experts, security staff, and many other specialists.Calling on his experiences from a variety of occupations, "D" pulls together the right folks to make things work, building a team that devises simple solutions to complicated challenges inside data centers.Learn more about building your career at a data center.
A hyperscale data center can house hundreds of thousands of servers. All that digital infrastructure requires a vast and intricate set of mechanical systems to keep machines running optimally.Juliana Conroy-Hoey is a mechanical engineer for Google data centers in Europe. She determines how to lay out the pipes and ductwork inside data centers for maximum efficiency and sustainability – the scale of which still gives her a sense of awe.Learn more about building your career at a data center.
People and information are two of the most valuable things inside data centers. Libby Davis helps protect both.Libby manages security at Google's data centers in Iowa. She runs a large team that monitors every movement inside the facilities – from the outer walls, to the inner sanctum where the servers sit. Libby melded her background in law enforcement, engineering, and organizational psychology to secure one of Google’s largest pieces of computing infrastructure: a data center. Learn more about building your career at a data center. 
Modern data centers are like small cities filled with warehouse-scale computers, bundles of cables and pipes, and colossal equipment to keep everything running. Kenny “KP” Philpot is an environmental health and safety program manager at Google's Douglas County data center outside Atlanta. Before running around the floors of data centers, KP was running around the football field, playing for the Detroit Lions. And before playing professional football, he learned hard lessons while growing up on the South Side of Chicago.Today, he helps make sure that vast pieces of data center infrastructure – and the technicians, electricians, and mechanical engineers who manage them – are safe and sound.Learn more about building your career at a data center. 
Data centers aren't just warehouses full of computers. They also contain complex arrangements of power equipment, water treatment facilities, and cooling systems that keep computers operating smoothly around the clock. Understanding how all these pieces fit together requires seeing the details and the big picture at the same time – something that Damian Diaz has done all his life, ever since he was a teenager fixing handheld radios in Cuba. Damian fled Cuba to seek political asylum. His journey brought him across the ocean and desert, and pushed him to the verge of homelessness. Today, he’s a facilities technician at Google’s data center in New Albany, Ohio – where he helps keep internet services up and running worldwide. Learn more about building your career at a data center.
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