When thinking about big Telecommunications Infrastructures most of the people think about AT&T, China Telecom, Orange… Indeed these big Telcos have huge pervasive infrastructures on the home turf plus connections reaching several other Countries. Very few would think about Google. Yet, Google has been steadily buying international/intercontinental traffic capacity for the last 15 years and has started several years ago to deploy its own long distance fibre network. Today its long distance infrastructure is encircling the world.
It is recent the news of even more submarine cables being laid to increase its connectivity with one cable connecting the US to Chile, one US to Europe and one Hong Kong to Guam. The US to Chile cable will be operational in 2019 and will be the first intercontinental cable laid and owned completely by a company that is not a telecommunications company.
Google has the biggest long distance infrastructure that it is using to funnel the 3.5 billion searches per day (that is 40 millions per second) to its network of data centres spread around the world. In the last 3 years Google has invested 30 billion $ to create new data centres and upgrade the existing ones. It has created the third largest distributed cloud (Amazon top the list, MS follows suit). Yet, the market value of this infrastructure is negligible if compared to the value of the data Google has and keeps accruing.
The value of Google’s data is partly in the data themselves, partly -probably most- in the knowledge on how these data are generated. What is being searched from where, when it is being searched, how searches are clustered, how the answers are relevant…
We often are concerned about the privacy of data, the fear that Google looks into our data. This is a minor concern. By looking at how we are using its search engine Google can develop an accurate profile of ourselves, actually more accurate than the perception we have of ourselves. I guess it is just a matter of years, of marketing opportunity, before they can start offering services to help us understand ourselves.
Has anybody said yet that we are what we search? Yes, last year a data scientist said: “We are what we Google” pointing out in his book (Everybody lies) that the way we search information on the Internet can reveal a lot about ourselves.
Something to think about.