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Google turns its data centers into an art show

The company has posted photographs that show its data centers in a new light

Google is offering a look inside its data centers with a series of stunning photographs that would be more at home in an art gallery than a technology manual.

Under the heading "Where the Internet Lives," Google published dozens of color photographs Wednesday that depict some of the technology, people and locations that keep its services running.

There are one or two insights into how its data centers operate, like the shot of a vast library of backup tapes at a facility in South Carolina, where robotic arms store the tapes and retrieve them when they're needed.

But most of the show is eye candy for tech enthusiasts, showing abstract patterns of curved pipes, Ethernet cables gathered into graceful arabesques, and server floors lit with colored lights, like dance clubs for robots.

Google hired photographer Connie Zhou, a Shanghai-born artist who specializes in architectures and interiors, to shoot the images.

The pictures provide "a never-before-seen look at the technology, the people and the places that keep Google running," Google said in a blog post.

It's also not a bad public relations move for Google, putting a human face on its vast compute factories, and portraying facilities in bucolic harmony with the nature around them.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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