Ahoy! It's Google's Computer Navy


Google recently filed a patent for offshore computing barges. That's right, Google conspiracy theorists: A computer navy.

The "water-based data centres" would use wave energy to power and cool their computers, reducing Google's costs. Their offshore status would also mean the company would no longer have to pay property taxes on its data centres

Keeping cool and finding tax-free space is a serious issue for Google and its competitors:

Data centres consumed 1 per cent of the world's electricity in 2005. By 2020 the carbon footprint of the computers that run the internet will be larger than that of air travel, a recent study by McKinsey, a consultancy firm, and the Uptime Institute, a think tank, predicted. 

I wonder if they could work something out with my pals over at the Seasteading Institute? Google-owned server farms in international waters, populated and defended by anarchists? Be still, my heart.

For more on the ever-popular Google-is-the-Great-Satan meme, check out the ongoing thoughtful discussion at Tech Liberation Front.

Update: Jesse Walker was similarly intrigued.