Google held a ceremony yesterday to mark the official opening of its $600 million data center project in Lenoir, North Carolina. The band played Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever" and curious local residents dined on barbecue, beans, hushpuppies and cole slaw. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley joined local officials and Google managers for a ribbon cutting.
But there was no tour of the facility, as Google continued its practice of tight information control about its data center facilities. The Charlotte Observer reported that guests attending the event had to pass through seven separate security guard checks.
Clint Boulton of eWeek's Google Watch blog, who was apparently the only reporter from a technology publication invited to attend, also noted the tight security. "On the drive in, I was stopped, in this order, by: 1) a Google security guard 2) a state trooper 3) another Google security guard 4) yet another Google security guard and 5) if you guess it, you get the prize," Clint writes.
As the event was wrapping up, Clint seized a moment of opportunity, apparently ready to risk being wrestled to the ground.
After the bus took me back, I went behind the building and snapped a few photos. Did I mention security at the datacenter was tight? It was practically presidential. A security guy standing post God knows where saw me and radioed to another guard at the exit. I was detained and politely told I was not allowed to take photos. Oops. Then I was permitted to leave, with my camera, thankfully.
Not to worry. The Observer has pictures of folks eating the barbecue.