Cringely continues his exploration into what Google really plans to be when it grows up. He speculates that Google's fixation on buying up real estate near power sources and building datacenters like hot-spotted Starbucks coffee shops is part of the company's goal to become your indispensable phone, cable company and plain old Internet service provider, disintermediating the current set of service providers trying to hold on in the digital age.
I think Google is building for a future they see but most of the rest of us don't. I'll go further and guess that Google is planning to build similar data centers in many states and that the two centers they are apparently preparing to build here in South Carolina are probably intended mainly to SERVE South Carolina. That's perhaps 100,000 servers for four million potential users or 40 users per server. What computing service could possibly require such resources?
The answer is pretty simple. Google intends to take over most of the functions of existing fixed networks in our lives, notably telephone and cable television.
Cringely makes a good argument that the increasing appetite for bandwidth could break the backs of ISPs (kill profits) and drive them into Google's vast, global web of datacenters. Perhaps Starbucks isn't the right analogy--maybe the old AT&T telephone monopoly, which isn't starting to look that different from the new, rechristened AT&T. As is usual throughout recorded history, a few large behemoths will be carving up the territory, each with a desire and shareholder interest in dominating the others.