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Google Plans Computer Navy to Bypass Laws and Taxes

Who needs countries with laws and taxes, when you can house crucial parts of your company on ships at sea outside of any country's jurisdiction? Google answered "not us" to that question, as the Internet giant has plans to relocate the machines that run its search engine on ships located seven miles offshore.

The company says that wave energy would power and cool the eco-friendly "water-based" data centers. While the tax-incentives and legal advantages may make you take a cynical outlook on the plan, the amount of energy used to cool servers does take a toll — Internet data centers consumed one percent on the world's electricity in 2005, and by 2020 computers that run the Internet will leave a larger carbon footprint than air travel.

Still, it makes me nervous to think Google, which holds so much of our personal data, could escape government regulation. Are you confident Google would still do no evil?


Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 9 years
I think the benefit could out weigh any risks. Although, just like when the internet started it changed the way business was run and as the years went by government found ways to regulate it. It does look like a great step towards an environmental solution as well as getting around governmental tax strategies (for now). It will only be a matter of time before countries start making new laws about how to charge taxes for companies running on ships in the ocean and not allowing them to leave certain jurisdictions of the ocean without a very costly penalty. Otherwise, if you're not in the jurisdiction of any particular country, you might not have to pay any country's taxes ;)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I bet the ships would be well protected, but it would be pretty funny to see a headline that Google has been attacked by Pirates! I think the environmental impact is quite interesting and I know that is something they've been working on. Google requires some ridiculous amount of energy to run. As for them turning "evil", I don't know what that means. They're such a huge and respected company that they stand to lose quite a bit if they ventured into any "evil".
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
I can see the Costner movie forming now. "Googleworld" (It'll flop too.) On a more serious note, yes, I would be concerned about it, particularly because its Google, but it goes two ways. Whether or not this little legal loophole works in our favour, or the powers-that-be, remains to be seen. Either way, when companies that large have the freedom to evade the letter of the law, people should at the very LEAST sit up, and take notice of it, its only common sense.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Concerning the shipping lanes, I wouldn't be surprised if a lower-income country sets up something like a floating industrial park. I also wonder about the danger of pirates. You rarely hear the stories, and they mostly target large private yachts, but....
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that it's a bit crazy to think that they are considering doing this and i wonder what the impact is going to be when/if other companies follow suit. that will mean that the shipping lanes will be filled up with ships out there, and who is going to take the job that requires you to live on the boat for long periods of time. it's just insane to think about it. i like the idea that they are going to have different ways of providing energy for the ship rather than electricity and the sort but it's still a bit crazy to me that they would go to these lengths for their business - to avoid country jurisdiction etc.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 9 years
What an innovative idea!! But then, I guess that's how they became Google in the first place ;)
SillyGirl SillyGirl 9 years
Pure Genius. With that technology they could form their own floating country.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I think it's worth pointing out that Laine specifically mentioned that she understands the need for taxes and regulations.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
actually, laine, the pacific ocean wins! i wonder what the tax rates in atlantis are? maybe businesses should just invent a new country where there are no laws, rules, or anything holding them back!
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
BTW, thanks Kim. Yes, I'm busy (shouldn't be on here, actually!), but thought I should pop in, since I don't that often any more.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
I have heard a number of anecdotes about companies moving out of state because either the taxes are high or the regulations are unmanageable. I fully recognize the need for taxes and regulations, but if they are excessive, the businesses leave--and no one wins.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
this seems fishy to me... no pun intended!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Even if that's the case, though, my point still holds. I don't see strict laws as justification for moving operations into international waters in order to avoid them.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I think she's saying that if the laws weren't as strict, Google wouldn't be as tempted to move their operations off shore. (I don't know for sure, though, but I know she's super-busy and may not have time to respond.)
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Laine, are you saying that California tax laws and business regulations are to blame for this, as if those who work to regulate business practices and keep them fair are in the wrong, and a company going to great lengths to avoid the taxes and regulations other companies have to pay and obey as part of the American economy is in the right?
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
This is what California tax and regulation policies will lead to.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
kristyrk kristyrk 9 years
Yes! I'm more confident that Google would keep my info private than the Government would. Plus, it really is a genius idea that they would use the power of the ocean to cool the servers. Trust me, those things get HOT!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Well, Google does offer their employees amazing perks--why not an international-waters casino? And thanks, CYL. I've been worried that I'm too medicated to make sense today :) Lil, you should check out God of Gamblers sometime. It's the ultimate "international waters gangster casino" movie, and Chow Yun Fat is hilarious in it.
CYL CYL 9 years
I agree with stehpley. Jude you are making me laugh this morning "anything that has to do with international waters makes me wonder if they're going to run crazy gangster casinos on the ships as well."
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I am picturing the crazy gangster casinos now...
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Agreed, steph. The environmentally friendly aspect of the move is nice, but I tend to distrust people and companies who go out of their way to avoid any regulating authority. And for some reason, anything that has to do with international waters makes me wonder if they're going to run crazy gangster casinos on the ships as well. I've watched too many 1980s Hong Kong action movies, I guess.
stephley stephley 9 years
It is creative thinking, but I wouldn't trust anyone who moves out of the jurisdiction of any country to stay honest.
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