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Google Issued Data Center Container Patent

Google has been issued a patent for putting a data center in a giant shipping container, a system designed to make it easier for the company to relocate data centers based on economic and other logistical factors. For two years, we’ve been hearing about Google designing these things, but no one’s actually seen Google putting any into production. Now, Google owns the concept.

Of course, as Slashdot points out, Google wasn’t the first to come up with this idea. Robert Cringely explained how Larry Page heard the idea at a presentation sponsored by Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive. Called a PetaBox, it seems to be the same product, so why did Google get a patent? It is possible Google’s filing of the patent, on December 30, 2003, pre-dates all prior art, but that’s going to annoy a lot of other companies who’ve had the same damn idea.

It has been pointed out by a bunch of people that, even if Google doesn’t deserve this patent, there might be nothing wrong with the company having it. If Google isn’t evil, then it would only push for the patent so no other company could grab the idea and cost Google a lot of money by suing them. If Google is evil, then even though it created this tech for internal purposes, not for a product, it would go around suing everyone, including Sun.

Guess this is a good opportunity to test that whole “Don’t Be Evil” thing.

October 10th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | no comments

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