Robert X. Cringely wrote an interesting article last year about Google's strengths:
"Google's strengths are searching, development of Open Source Internet services, and running clusters of tens of thousands of servers.
[In Google's underground parking garages in Mountain View], in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid."
The giant Google PC will be able to run Office applications, deliver Internet TV, and perform transactions. "Where some other outfit might put a router, Google is putting an entire data center, and the results are profound". The data center will be close to you, so the latency will be reduced, you don't need to install anything, the service is free, it works fast and it requires only a Google Account.
Anil Dash on the shifting meaning of "public"
5 minutes ago