Google Lets Photographer Into Secretive Data Centers, Beautiful Photos Ensue

Look around on the web, and you’ll find plenty of photographs of Google’s colorful offices in Mountain View (AKA the Googleplex) and around the world. Finding images shot from inside the company’s tightly-guarded data centers is much harder, since only a handful of employees are allowed to roam the spaces where the “web lives.” However, Google recently invited photographer Connie Zhou inside a number of its high-tech data centers. Gorgeous photographs resulted — images that show incredible scale, mind-numbing repetition, and quirky colors.

The massive server rooms house tens of thousands of servers that handle your searches and all of the services offered by the search giant.

Google says that the rainbow-colored pipes aren’t just for show; the colors help the employees quickly determine which is which.

Wired’s Steven Levy was also invited to tour the data centers, and has written up a fascinating piece on his experience. In an interview with Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep, he states,

What strikes you immediately is the scale of things. The room is so huge you can almost see the curvature of Earth on the end. And wall to wall are racks and racks and racks of servers with blinking blue lights and each one is many, many times more powerful and with more capacity than my laptop. And you’re in the throbbing heart of the Internet. You really feel it. [#]

Want to roam around the buildings yourself? Check out this Street View page that provides a virtual tour of the buildings:

You can see high-res versions of these photos and many more over at a new website Google set up, called “Where the Internet lives.”

Image credits: Photographs by Connie Zhou/Google

  • Seattle

    See. I told you the Internet was a series of tubes.

  • Dave Polak

    Those are beautiful and actual proof that the internet is a series of tubes.

  • John Maggitti

    Expletive Deleted! The scale is difficult to take in, and this is just one of them…

  • Will

    Looks like they recycled a Borg cube!

  • Oliver roche-clarke

    if the internet is made of tubes, if i get a big enough internet tube to my house can i get food delivered through the internet?

  • techzulu

    Its like Gyromite!

  • Derek Kei Lap Cheng

    Server pr0n!

  • Renato Valenzuela

    i love their inter-office mode of transportation: the folding bike.

  • York Wedding Photographer

    Wow, that place is massive! Very intriguing photos

  • Łukasz Kupś

    reminds me Mirrors Edge levels.. :]

  • Randall Hawkins

    Imagine 30 years from now it will amaze us that that little amount of data and processing took up so much room lol.

  • Scott Cappel

    Where’s Forbin?

  • Widarto Adi


  • Oliver Li


  • Angus

    charlie and the data chocolate factory…

  • Woodsy

    pr0n server(s), surely?! ;)

  • McPhoto

    Skynet is real.

  • Walter

    “Where the Internet lives”… How humble Google is…

  • Sharon Jackson

    Amazing! See, beauty everywhere!!!!!!!!

  • NeoplasmSix

    The bold colours (not colors) make it look like The Early Learning Centre (not center)

  • anti hipston

    someone’s a hipster jackass, yes it’s you

  • Alan

    Did they clear out the Borgs for the photoshoot? Damn google! I know you have Borgs in there!!!!

  • Lance Andrewes

    Not just any old tubes – they are of course Lamson Tubes. One of the neatest communications methods ever, and still in wide use. As a kid I loved going into the department store and seeing Mum pay for her purchase. Her payment was sucked upstairs, and the change and receipt returned with a satisfying thud. When I began work at an airport, our communications went back and forth the same way. I observed air traffic controllers tapping their cigarettes below the “out” pipe. I think this still happens in these data centres, but on a huge scale. It accounts for a lot of the rubbish that permeates the Internet.

  • Chrissy Mitchell

    OMG WOW!!! What stunning images… and what an honour to have been asked! :-)

  • Roger M Olson

    The pipes are for cooling fluids as the heat build up is tremendous.

  • Mike Penny

    I love the little bike in that pic :D
    Matches the pipes!!

  • Jonathon Chambers

    I believe that my life goal is to work here

  • Shaikh Muhammed Ali

    G*O*S*H. Mind Boggling!

  • Zorris

    oh my god I havent laughed that hard in a long time.

  • Craig

    Pretty weak life goal bro.

  • XincontriAdulti.It

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing

  • Trace

    If you click on the street view link to take a tour, see if you can find the storm trooper. He’s there I promise.

  • wadejlong

    their heads are going to explode when it’s time to upgrade hardware

  • Randell

    Wow! Welcome to ‘The Matrix’.

  • Ankit Singh

    only one word amazing

  • JM Taylor

    They need to make the place colorful to mask all the evil going on inside.

  • sacj7

    Absolutely fascinating!




    love colors!

  • Hyperuranion

    this is amazing!

  • Mark Coles

    That gives me a halon!