Google (GOOG) invested $186 million on its data centers in the third quarter of 2009, ending a string of five consectuive quarters in which the company slashed its capital spending. But Google's infrastructure costs remained just a fraction of what they were during its 2007 building boom, when it announced four new data centers.
The second quarter capital expenditure (CapEx) total was up slightly from $139 million in the second quarter but tically lower than the company spent during the same period in 2006 ($492 million), 2007 ($453 million) and 2008 ($452 million). Here's a look at the recent trend:
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.
After the economic meltdown gripped Wall Street last fall, Google throttled back spending even further, opting to delay construction of its data center in Pryor. Google continues to build in other markets. In March Google confirmed plans to build a major data center at a former paper mill in Finland, having paid $51 million in February to purchase the property.