New sort of places: googleplexes

It's always curious to read about new sort of places created by networked technologies. The NYT has a good piece about the next to be Googleplex (a portmanteau of Google and complex — in the architectural sense) that will be located surrounding the Columbia along the Oregon-Washington border (a big operational infrastructure).

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 (...) 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. (...) But Google Earth, the satellite mapping service, like its rivals, so far shows the 30-acre parcel here quite undeveloped.

(Picture by Melanie Conner for The New York Time)

Look at the characteristics of such a place:

Behind the curtain of secrecy, the two buildings here — and a third that Google has a permit to build — will probably house tens of thousands of inexpensive processors and disks, held together with Velcro tape in a Google practice that makes for easy swapping of components. The cooling plants are essential because of the searing heat produced by so much computing power.

The complex will tap into the region's large surplus of fiber optic networking, a legacy of the dot-com boom.

Why do I blog this? from my standpoint, it's interesting to see that such a landmark IS actually one the node that AFFORDS our practices (searching, navigating in data/information).