I recommend a report in the New York Times on the massive super-computer complex Google has built on the banks of the Columbia River in order to control Internet search and download:
THE DALLES, Ore., June 8 — On the banks of the windswept Columbia River, Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate the next generation of Internet computing. But it is hard to keep a secret when it is a computing center as big as two football fields, with twin cooling plants protruding four stories into the sky.
The complex, sprawling like an information-age factory, heralds a substantial expansion of a worldwide computing network handling billions of search queries a day and a growing repertory of other Internet services.
And odd as it may seem, the barren desert land surrounding the Columbia along the Oregon-Washington border — at the intersection of cheap electricity and readily accessible data networking — is the backdrop for a multibillion-dollar face-off among Google, Microsoft and Yahoo that will determine dominance in the online world in the years ahead.
Oddly, the site is close to the former headquarters of the Bhagwan Sree Rajneesh cult, best known for its criminal activities:
In 1981 Rajneesh’s cult purchased a dilapidated ranch in Oregon, U.S., which became the site of Rajneeshpuram, a community of several thousand orange-robed disciples. Rajneesh was widely criticized by outsiders for his private security force and his ostentatious display of wealth. By 1985 many of his most trusted aides had abandoned the movement, which was under investigation for multiple felonies including arson, attempted murder, drug smuggling, and vote fraud in the nearby town of Antelope. In 1985 Rajneesh pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and was deported from the United States.
Is history repeating itself? Naw, Google’s a business, not an insane cult set on world domination. I used to live a stone’s throw from the Columbia, downstream in the Portland area, and I visited the Bonneville Dam a couple of times. They have a nice fish hatchery and a place where you can see some huge sturgeons up close. The dam is a massive public works project capable of generating enormous amounts of power relatively cheaply, although my power bill didn’t reflect any cost savings.
This article puts the lie to the claim that Google supports the misapplication of the old telecom regulatory framework to Internet routing because they want to preserve low entry barriers for their competitors. The only way for them to hang on to their dwindling share of the search business is to outspend Microsoft and Yahoo. Keeping a lid on corporate Internet access fees is obviously vital to their survival.