Frequently asked questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our data centers.
What is a data center?
A data center is a facility with many computers that store and process large amounts of information. Our data centers keep all of Google’s products and services up and running around the clock and around the world. Whenever you access Gmail, edit your documents, post an image to Google+ or search for information on Google.com, you're using one of our data centers and have the power of a supercomputer at your fingertips. Learn more about our approach to environmentally responsible data centers.
Can I visit a data center?
Because we take security very seriously at our data centers, we cannot offer public tours at this time. However, you can take a virtual tour of our North Carolina data center in Street View, and explore the general office area, control room, and even the server floor.
What is it like to work at the data center?
Google data center staff ensure that the facility’s computers are running at their highest speed and efficiency 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our jobs require a variety of skills and backgrounds—from entry-level technology assistants to experienced data center managers and Linux administrators. We also hire non-technical staff, such as catering staff, grounds staff, and security personnel. In every case, we look for individuals who demonstrate the potential to excel in their role. Explore current openings on our careers site.
How does Google power its data centers?
Our goal is to use as much renewable energy as possible to power our data centers. But the places with the best clean power potential are not typically the same places where a data center can best serve its users (for example, they may not be particularly sunny or windy). So we found a creative solution: we locate our data centers where they can be most efficient, and we often buy renewable energy from where it’s most efficiently produced. Moreover, we've committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy projects to grow this industry as a whole.
Can I take photos of the data center?
Yes, you are welcome to take pictures from anywhere outside our property. We ask that you do not trespass onto our property, block roadways, create safety issues, or in any other way obstruct public areas. However, please note we do not allow unauthorized access for people or vehicles inside our data center perimeter, and any trespassing or other unauthorized access is a serious matter and may lead to arrest and prosecution. Our data centers are where we provide Google services like Cloud, Search, Gmail, Maps, which our users rely on every day, and we’re very protective of them!
Can I fly my UAV over a Google data center?
Don't. Our sites contain high-voltage electrical lines, fuel storage, and other high-voltage electrical gear, so there is too much risk to infrastructure and employees for amateur operations. If you still choose to fly a UAV over a data center, you risk violating the law and we may pursue legal action against you. If you'd like to safely take pictures with a UAV, you are welcome to fly it outside the perimeter of our site. Please always follow local regulations and safety guidelines concerning UAVs (or we may be tempted to use proton guns to polarize your UAV).
But I’d really like to shoot a very cool video of your data center!
If you are a professional photographer we may be able to schedule a photoshoot under controlled conditions, provided that your project can be completed in a safe way. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for an exception. Be sure to list the location of the site you want to photograph, as well as an outline of the desired shots / angles (e.g., flight paths drawn on a map of the site).
What else should I consider?
We ask that you follow local regulations and safety guidelines concerning UAVs, such as the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Know Before You Fly Safety Guidelines. Of particular importance is their guidance that you keep your UAV in eyesight at all times and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property. Also, you should also follow applicable civil aviation regulations that may govern what you can and can’t do with a UAV.