Google has confirmed that it is developing plans for two huge data centers in South Carolina, and that separate initiatives in Goose Creek and Blythewood are both likely to go forward. The two South Carolina properties “are not competing for the same project or jobs,” Google spokesman Barry Schnitt told WRAL TV, adding that the search giant has data center projects in the works around the world.
“Some we will begin construction on immediately,” Schnitt said. “Some may be held in reserve to be used if a site does not work out somewhere else or as business needs dictate. Our business is growing. With more people buying computers and doing Internet searches … we need more and more computers to respond to them. It’s a fairly basic business need.”
Google was also under scrutiny this weekend in a Charlotte Observer story that examines Google’s business practices in arranging a legislative incentive package for its $600 million data center project in Lenoir, N.C. (also being discussed at Slashdot and ZDNet).
The Observer article says that “Google tried to silence lawmakers and pushed – at times with a heavy hand – to influence legislation designed to bring the company to Caldwell County. The company demanded that legislators never speak its name, and had them scolded when word of its interest in North Carolina leaked out, according to records made public this week.”
The legislative hardball in seeking incentive packages is a game played by many corporations. But Google’s effort to shroud its efforts in secrecy introduced a new and unsettling wrinkle – the company asked legislators to sign non-disclosure agreements. “One senses that this story may get a whole lot bigger,” writes Nick Carr. “Where else is Google using such tactics?”
As we’ve seen before, the Fight Club Rule of corporate data center secrecy leads companies to go to unusual lengths. Google isn’t alone in this, as evidenced by Microsoft’s effort to block public records requests for construction plans for its Quincy, Washingon State data center. The company briefly planned to sue city officials in Quincy if they released the documents. The request was eventually dropped, as was the lawsuit.