Google (GOOG) continues to invest in its data centers, but there's no sign of an imminent return the huge spending seen in 2007 and 2008. Google invested $239 million in capital spending on its IT infrastructure in the first quarter of 2010, a slight uptick from the $221 million it spent in the fourth quarter. The company's capital expenditures (CapEx) have trended modestly higher over the last four quarters, but remain at about a quarter of what the company spent at the height of its data center building program. Here's a look at the recent trend in Google's capital expenditures:
The capex "breather" has been enabled by the company's building boom in 2007-08, during which it announced major data center construction projects in Lenoir, North Carolina; Goose Creek, South Carolina; Pryor, Oklahoma and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Google has not announced any new data center builds in the U.S. since June 2007, and confirmed just one international project in 2009 in Hamina, Finland.
After the economic meltdown gripped Wall Street in the third quarter of 2008, Google throttled back spending even further, opting to delay construction of its data center in Pryor.