A podcast about the unseen world of data centers

Where the Internet Lives is a podcast about the fascinating world of data centers. Join us as we venture into places that very few people ever see firsthand – and learn about the technology, people, and places that make the internet run.


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You Use Data Centers

Nearly 5 billion people use the internet, but how many could tell you where it lives? In our first episode, we explore what data centers are – and how they keep the internet going, even when events like COVID-19 trigger historic surges in traffic.

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Inside the Walls

Data centers are some of the most secure buildings on the planet. In this episode, we invite you to step inside and take a tour with one of Google’s top engineers. As we venture into computer systems that connect the world, we meet the people who keep these warehouse-scale facilities running. Plus, a little-known story about the scrappy origins of Google’s first computers.

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When the Data Center Came to Town

How do data centers intersect with the communities they call home? What kinds of jobs do they create and what do residents think of having a big computer in their backyard? In this episode, we hear what happens when the digital economy meets the industrial economy in rural Alabama.

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A Quest for 24/7 Clean Energy

What would it take to run data centers on clean electricity, everywhere, every hour of the day? In this episode, we look at the evolution of data center energy use in a world confronting the threat of climate change – and explore promising ideas that could fuel a carbon-free future.

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What If?

Power outages? Hurricanes? Wildfires? Zombies? Google’s data centers have to keep operating in even the most unexpected of circumstances. In this episode, we meet the security and operations experts responsible for the multi-layered systems that keep the internet secure.

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The Future

For fifty years, computer performance has improved exponentially while the cost of computing has plummeted – but this phenomenal “Moore’s Law” trend has begun to slow down. What does it mean for data centers and what lies ahead? In our final episode, we peer into the future of technology – from machine learning to quantum computing – and explore the next chapter in the story of the physical internet.

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“Little Pieces of a Big Puzzle”

Data centers aren't just warehouses full of computers. They also contain complex arrangements of power equipment, water treatment facilities, and cooling systems that keep computers operating smoothly around the clock.

Understanding how all these pieces fit together requires seeing the details and the big picture at the same time – something that Damian Diaz has done all his life, ever since he was a teenager fixing handheld radios in Cuba.

Damian fled Cuba to seek political asylum. His journey brought him across the ocean and desert, and pushed him to the verge of homelessness. Today, he’s a facilities technician at Google’s data center in New Albany, Ohio – where he helps keep internet services up and running worldwide.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“I Feel Like I’ve Seen It All”

Modern data centers are like small cities filled with warehouse-scale computers, bundles of cables and pipes, and colossal equipment to keep everything running.

Kenny “KP” Philpot is an environmental health and safety program manager at Google's Douglas County data center outside Atlanta.

Before running around the floors of data centers, KP was running around the football field, playing for the Detroit Lions. And before playing professional football, he learned hard lessons while growing up on the South Side of Chicago.

Today, he helps make sure that vast pieces of data center infrastructure – and the technicians, electricians, and mechanical engineers who manage them – are safe and sound.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“We Know Who’s Here and Why”

People and information are two of the most valuable things inside data centers. Libby Davis helps protect both.

Libby manages security at Google's data centers in Iowa. She runs a large team that monitors every movement inside the facilities – from the outer walls, to the inner sanctum where the servers sit.

Libby melded her background in law enforcement, engineering, and organizational psychology to secure one of Google’s largest pieces of computing infrastructure: a data center.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“I Never Thought It Would Be Possible”

A hyperscale data center can house hundreds of thousands of servers. All that digital infrastructure requires a vast and intricate set of mechanical systems to keep machines running optimally.

Juliana Conroy-Hoey is a mechanical engineer for Google data centers in Europe.

She determines how to lay out the pipes and ductwork inside data centers for maximum efficiency and sustainability – the scale of which still gives her a sense of awe.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“Challenges Are Expected”

Mamoudou “D” Diallo's life path has taken him from being a curious youngster in Guinea-Conakry, to an engineering student in Ukraine, to a technology executive in the financial industry, to his role today as a site manager for Google’s data center in New Albany, Ohio. In that role, he addresses the staffing needs of a data center, which are as complex and diverse as the technology itself. Each facility needs the right mix of server technicians, mechanical engineers, networking experts, security staff, and many other specialists.

Calling on his experiences from a variety of occupations, "D" pulls together the right folks to make things work, building a team that devises simple solutions to complicated challenges inside data centers.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“The Most Important Things Are Invisible”

Each individual server stacked high inside a data center is powerful in its own right. But without a way of linking them together, they aren't much use to anyone.

It takes a vast collection of switches, cables, and software control systems to create a well-functioning global network. It is Bikash Koley’s job to connect Google’s fleet of data centers – and make that connection seamless and invisible to users.

Growing up in India, Bikash first used a computer in high school. It didn’t take him long to get hooked on the concept of networking.

Today, as VP and head of global networking, he directs a team of architects who design and build a network that can withstand traffic surges, natural disasters, and a global pandemic. He and his team work at the forefront of networking technologies that keep the internet humming.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“Scale Beyond Our Imagination”

Over the years, Majd Bakar has overseen several critical consumer tech advancements inside Google: Chromecast, GoogleTV, Google Nest Wifi, and the cloud gaming platform Stadia. All of them are directly linked to the growth of data centers.

From the moment Majd played with his first computer as a kid growing up in Syria, he has pursued a mission of making tech intuitive and accessible.

Today, Majd uses his design expertise and biomedical engineering background to focus on personal health at Fitbit – and data centers are more important than ever to his work.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“A Big Step In Our Journey”

Storing photos, taking video calls, or streaming podcasts creates heat. To keep servers cool, many data centers utilize water running through pipes and along server racks.

Teams across Google have been working intensively for more than a decade to use water as responsibly as possible. And in September 2021, Google unveiled a comprehensive plan to replenish 120% of the water it consumes, and improve the quality of water ecosystems in the places where it operates.

Tara Varghese’s job is to make sure Google hits that target.

Water conservation was an important part of Tara’s upbringing from an early age. Today, she leads Google’s corporate water stewardship efforts, and helps shape the company’s strategy for siting data centers and office buildings around the world.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“Holy Cow, This Is What You Are Building?”

Building a data center can be as complex as the machines inside. It requires teams of construction experts who are constantly solving football field-sized puzzles – people like Sarah Godbehere.

For Sarah, construction is a family affair. Growing up, she watched her father build schools, car washes, and office buildings.

After getting her engineering degree, Sarah realized that she wanted to work on projects with immediate and tangible outcomes. And that led her to oversee construction of Google's data centers in Northern Virginia. As a program manager, she literally helps build new data centers from the ground up.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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“It Gets My Heart Beating”

Few people are ever allowed on a data center floor. Andreas van der Linden is one of those people.

Andreas is a data center technician and the maintenance lead at Google's Eemshaven data center in the Netherlands. Every day, he and his team weave through aisles of server racks, making sure all the computers are running optimally.

To become an expert at fixing computers, Andreas first had to become an expert at taking them apart.

Today, Andreas leads a team that makes sure data center maintenance gets done on time and up to quality standards. But he never loses sight of his inner kid – and a passion for cracking open a computer himself to see what needs fixing.

Learn more about building your career at a data center.

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