Google recently opened the doors of its Oregon data center to several journalists from the local community newspaper. The huge complex in The Dalles, Oregon was featured on the front page of the New York Times in June 2006. The journalists' account of their trip inside the data center doesn't provide much information technical information about the facility, due in part to the fact that the editors signed a non-disclosure agreement to gain access to the building. But the tour appears to reflect a shift in Google's approach to its data centers, as it seeks to strike a balance between operational secrecy and community relations. Here's an excerpt:
(Facility manager Ken) Patchett said Google's initial secrecy had been adjusted due to the company's experience here. "Our challenge was understanding that transparency was important. We've learned an awful lot about being open with the community early on. And don't just focus on what you have to do to build [the plant]; focus on being a solid member of the community."
Patchett outlines a number of Google's community development and charity efforts in the community, and reveals a quirky milestone. "We have now joined, for the first time that I know of