How Google Make Their Data Centers Better

Every second of the day, people all over the globe troll the Net with Google’s search engine, log into their Gmail accounts or use a host of other Google products. This means that the servers in the Google data centers are buzzing with activity 24/7 to support loads of services simultaneously. While they constantly look to develop their software, with programming luminaries like Jeff Dean producing innovative ways to handle immense data loads, the search engine leader has surged ahead of the competition on the hardware front too with innovative technology that uses fewer servers and serves more users while consuming less energy.
From simple to sophisticated strategies, Google shows the way for other industries to adapt best practices in running not just data centers but entire businesses. The company serves as an exemplary business model for running super-efficient systems and processes across its operations.google data center

Efficiency is Key
High performance with less energy is Google’s strategy to reduce the environmental impact of the company, as well as the users of its products and services.  Its data centers consume only half of the energy used by conventional data centers. This is achieved through smart engineering to provide as robust a platform to work from as possible.

Among other sensible practices, Google has custom servers, runs its operations at 80 degrees F, and takes advantage of outdoor air for cooling. With energy-efficient processes, Google has minimised its energy usage down to 12% for non-computing tasks, such as power conversion and cooling. The greater share of energy consumption is directed to power the equipment that services Google products and searches.

Renewable Energy Sources
Currently, over one third of Google’s operations are powered by clean, renewable energy sources. The company has contracted with renewable energy producers over the long term to purchase power from wind farms close to some of its data centers.

Google has also committed to projects that tap into renewable energy, investing over $1 billion in rooftop solar energy and extensive wind power sources. These initiatives have a potential capacity exceeding 2 GW, which can supply far more energy reserves than the enterprise requires. They can generate a total power equivalent to the energy consumption of over half a million homes.

Technological Edge
Aside from the macro scale of operations, Google also takes micro matters seriously in its overall efforts to achieve energy efficiency. Each server is supplied with its own on-board, lead-acid battery, providing an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). The independent battery assigned to each server contributes to a backup power supply system that’s evenly distributed across a data center.

With an optimised efficiency rate of 99.9%, this distributed model is superior to the centralised UPS setups of standard data centers. During unexpected power outages, the backup system ensures the least disruption in web services, continuing the power flow that’s critical to web-based businesses.

Google engineers also keep current with the latest technological developments, such as the coaxial cable responsible for the digital signal carrier interface to the data centers.

Industrial Ventilation and Temperature
A well-managed industrial ventilation is vital to the efficient operations of data centers. Google ensures optimal conditions of air flow circulation by applying computational fluid dynamics and thermal modelling methods. With a professionally built containment plan, incidences of mixing hot air with cold air and hot spots are reduced. Vacant slots in a rack are provided with metal sheets or blanking plates.

Google has dispelled the misguided 70 degree F requirement in data centers. It successfully maintains its facilities at 80 degrees F, the temperature allowed for cold aisles by the majority of equipment manufacturers. Using water and air-side economisers enables higher cold aisle temperatures, which provides free cooling days and saves energy.

Google’s research and development teams employ practical solutions to maintain the most efficient, energy-saving systems in all its facilities and locations.

Google Looks to Block Ads

Earlier this year, Google was rumored to be working on a built-in ad blocker for its Chrome browser. The new ad blocker inside Chrome won’t block every ad you see on the web — instead, it’ll only block ads that are considered intrusive and go against the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads.

Image result for google blocks ads

Google has started testing the new built-in ad blocker for Chrome today on the desktop and Android devices. The latest canary release for Google Chrome includes a new option under Chrome’s Settings where you can enable the new ad blocker inside Chrome. Users can enable the new feature by going to the Content options inside Chrome’s settings page (chrome://settings/content/ads).

The built-in ad blocker should automatically block ads that are considered “intrusive”. But Google Chrome also lets you strictly block ads on certain sites, and you can also choose to allow ads on certain sites if you’d like. Here are the types of ads that will get blocked on desktop sites with the ad blocker enabled on Chrome:

Google deciding to integrate an ad blocker right into its own browser in very interesting. Google’s AdSense business will certainly be affected by the ad-blocker as it could potentially block ads provided by Google on sites that could be abusing the ads that result in an intrusive experience. Google also has a service which lets users subscribe to certain sites in order to hide ads, so it will be interesting to see how the new ad blocker works with that. Google is yet to officially announce the new ad-blocker inside Chrome, and we’ll likely have the answers to our questions once it’s officially and available to all Google Chrome users.

New Google Earth on iOS

Google on Wednesday released its major Google Earth update for iPhone and iPad users.

The new version of Google Earth includes 64-bit processor support, a redesign, and its new Voyager feature for flyover views. Google is including 64-bit processor support just in time for iOS 11, which won’t support 32-bit apps.

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Voyager allows users to interact with guided tours of popular tourist destinations and famous landmarks, providing more context of the location and the ability to virtually fly through it.

Google has included multi-day intineraries for 17 cities under the Travel category, including “Paris with Kids” and “Beyond the Beaches of Rio de Janeiro.” Google said there are more than 140 stories in eight languages available. Knowledge cards also provide interesting facts about a location.

The big Google Earth update was first available on Android and web browsers in April. For iOS users, the update is now available to download on the App Store.

Blocking Ads with Ad Block

Do you get tired of seeing advertisements when browsing the internet? I know I do and now with user-based advertisements seemingly following us I really am growing tired of these advertisements, even if they seemingly are showing me points of interest to me. So how can we stop these ads if we do not want them? The best way today to do this is through browser extensions.

Browser extensions are small applications that run inside your browser for very specific purposes. A wide range of available extensions is one of the reasons Google’s Chrome is so popular. So with this in mind check out “AdBlock” for Chrome if you want to end ads while browsing the internet.

What is AdBlock?

AdBlock for Chrome is the go-to extension if you want to remove ads, pop-ups, and other annoyances that get in the way of viewing a page. It’s easy to add to your browser and gets to work right away.

Pros

It works: In AdBlock, a handy number under the icon in the browser toolbar shows you how many items it’s blocking, so you know it’s always working.

Customizable: Although you can just add the extension and go, there are plenty of ways to customize which sites it works on, and a quick menu lets you quickly turn the application off for a page you’re on or even all subpages within a specific domain.

Cons

Pay what you want: The software is free to use, but the publisher does ask you to ante up what you think AdBlock is worth. It’s not a huge drawback, but you will be asked to pay. The default amount is set to $35.

Bottom Line

AdBlock for Chrome does a stellar job of keeping only the content you want on a page. That means no ads, pop-ups, nor other distractions. If you use Chrome, this is a must-have.

Brick & Mortar Stores Under Fire

If you were worried about the future of brick and mortar stores you have cause. There is very good reason to fear that the days of simply walking into a store to shop and browse are almost over. Amazon.com is striking another dagger into the life of physical retail stores.

 

Another Dagger at Physical Stores – Conquering Impulse & Speed 

Amazon wants to make your impulse buys even more impulsive. The e-commerce powerhouse is also now offering free same-day delivery service in some cities (including Philadelphia) to its Prime loyalty club members.

Same-Day Delivery

Amazon reported late this week more than 1 million items including books, electronics and vacation gear will be eligible for same-day delivery in 14 metro areas including New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Atlanta. Orders over $35 are eligible for the service. They need to be placed by noon and will be delivered by 9 p.m.

Orders under $35 can still have one day delivery, it just costs $5.99.

Previously the service cost $5.99 for Prime members and $9.98 for non-Prime members for the first item, plus 99 cents for each additional item.

About 20 million items on the site are eligible for free two-day delivery for Prime members. Prime loyalty club membership costs $99 a year.

Amazon in general has been expanding its Prime program’s offerings in an effort to grow its membership with services such as grocery delivery, one-hour delivery in some cities, beefed up video streaming and the creation of a Bluetooth speaker called the Echo that syncs with Prime music.

The delivery sector is heating up with new startups challenging traditional delivery methods. Ride-hailing service Uber is testing local delivery service, and delivery service Postmates has begun working with restaurants like McDonald’s and Starbucks, in addition to offering one-hour delivery services for most restaurants and stores in major metro areas.

Not to be outdone, last week Seattle-based Amazon said it would begin offering one-hour delivery from local stores in New York City’s Manhattan borough.

FCC Rules on Net Neutrality

Well today has finally arrived in respect to the FCC’s decision in respect to net neutrality and it went down like most of us expected and hoped for.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to approve new net neutrality rules by reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility over the objections of the commission’s Republican members and large broadband providers.

The commission voted 3-2 today to approve net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic and from offering paid traffic prioritization services. The commission’s vote on the new rules prompted loud applause from the audience at the FCC meeting.



Of course the new regulations will almost certainly face a court challenge from broadband providers, and a court case could drag out for years. Verizon Communications, AT&T and Comcast have all publicly opposed reclassification of broadband. They see profits and control diminishing in respect to internet services and the ISP’s will not go down without a fight.

The rules are basically grounded in a reclassification of broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated telecommunications service, although FCC staff said the agency will refrain from applying about 700 traditional telecom rules, such as price regulation and forced sharing of networks with competitors.

The order applies net neutrality regulations to mobile, as well as fixed and broadband providers although smaller broadband providers will be exempt for a period of time. The new rules will prohibit broadband providers from acting as gatekeepers to Web content.

The FCC’s vote comes after a year of debate over net neutrality rules. In early 2014, a U.S. appeals court overturned net neutrality rules the agency passed in 2010, saying the FCC pegged the rules to the wrong section of the Telecommunications Act.

There is sure to be some court battles with the big broadband providers with republicans lining up with the them to battle the FCC and democrats. For me, I stand with the FCC on this one.

Google Looks to Protect You from… Yourself

Google is looking to to protect Internet users from themselves. The company’s Chrome Web browser will now warn users before they visit sites that might encourage them to download programs or malware that could cripple their computers or otherwise interfere with their Web-browsing experience.

 

When users attempt to visit one of the questionable sites, they will see this warning in red letters: “The site ahead contains harmful programs.”

The warning, part of what Google is terming SafeBrowsing, informs users that attackers may attempt to trick them into installing programs that harm their browsing experiences by changing their homepages or showing extra ads on the sites they visit.

Google is suggesting that unsafe sites fall into two categories. One group consists of malware sites that contain code to install malicious software onto users’ computers. Hackers can use this malicious software to capture and transmit users’ private or sensitive information. The other category consists of phishing sites that pretend to be legitimate while trying to trick users into typing in their usernames and passwords or sharing other private information.

The new precautions also extend to Google search and ads. A Google search now incorporates signals that identify deceptive sites, and Google recently began disabling ads that lead to sites with unwanted software.

Google has had SafeBrowsing malware warnings in place for several years now, but it was only last November that it added automatic malware blocking. At that time, Google noted that if users see malicious file warnings on Web sites going forward, “you can click ‘Dismiss’ knowing that Chrome is working to keep you safe.”

These new protections apparently emerged as a result of last week’s discovery that new Lenovo PCs had shipped between September and December of 2014 with pre-installed adware known as Superfish, which uses a man-in-the-middle attack to insert ads into Web browsers.

Google Earth Pro is Now Free

Once Google Earth Pro cost you $399 but last Friday Google made a surprise announcement that Google Earth Pro is now free. Yes, you guessed it, absolutely free.

The Pro version has the same features as the standard Google Earth but the Pro version sports additional tools that help users measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, view parcel data and demographics, traffic counts and record HD movies of virtual trips around the world.

Individuals now may use the service when planning a trip or an organization might use it when plotting out a new office building.

Anyone interested can obtain a free key and download Earth Pro immediately. When you sign up you will need to register with some basic information. The License Key will then be emailed to you.

8Bit Star Trek Returns on the iPAD

I do not normally write about video games here but in the case of the new IPAD app (game) I will make an exception just because I look forward to checking it out.

n this new IPAD game from Xcube Games and YesGnome a temporal rift has caused old foes and surprising new allies to find their way into an unexplored region of space. You are directed to build your ship, choose your crew, and explore an 8-bit galaxy like no one has before.

Set within the original Star Trek universe, players will apparently encounter familiar characters and locations from Star Trek™: The Original Series and Star Trek™: The Next Generation, as well as all new crew members, aliens, and mysterious planets to explore. The game also features narration by the one and only George Takei, the original music from the series, and a user interface based on the iconic LCARS (Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) system.