Worth reading: John Markoff and Saul Hansell of the New York Times published one of those big picture stories, "Hiding in Plain Sight, Google Seeks More Power," about how the Internet's epicenter is shaping up. Most of us have been focusing on the software battles--portals, Web applications, instant messengers, social networks. But the larger battle is about power plants. As the NYT duo writes:
And odd as it may seem, the barren desert land surrounding the Columbia along the Oregon-Washington border — at the intersection of cheap electricity and readily accessible data networking — is the backdrop for a multibillion-dollar face-off among Google, Microsoft and Yahoo that will determine dominance in the online world in the years ahead.
Each company--Google, Yahoo, Microsoft in particular--have their own Manhattan projects, spending billions to build out infrastructure to support billions of users. Google supposedly has close to 500,000 servers; Microsoft expects to have 800,000 in use by 2011, according to the NYT story. It's a battle of nanoseconds and milliseconds--who can deliver the best performance...as well as overall user experience and services.