Google announces UK data centre to meet ‘growing demand’ for AI

22.01.2024

 

Google has revealed its intention to invest $1 billion in a new data center in the UK, aiming to address the increasing demand for its AI and cloud services. The 33-acre facility, situated in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, is expected to enhance computing capacity for businesses, supporting AI advancements and ensuring reliable digital services for Google Cloud customers and general consumers relying on products such as Search, Maps, and YouTube.

Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s president and chief financial officer, emphasized that this data center marks the company’s latest commitment to the UK and the broader digital economy. It builds upon previous investments, including offices in Saint Giles and Kings Cross, a research collaboration with Cambridge, and the Grace Hopper subsea cable connecting the UK with the US and Spain.

Porat highlighted that the new facility will cater to the growing demand for AI and cloud services, providing essential computing capacity to businesses across the UK. Additionally, the project is expected to generate job opportunities in construction and technical fields for the local community.

As a leader in computing infrastructure, Google is known for running highly efficient data centers and has set a goal to power them entirely with carbon-free energy by 2030. The company has already taken steps toward this commitment, signing a deal with ENGIE for offshore wind energy from Scotland’s Moray West farm.

The upcoming data center plans to recover heat for local homes and businesses and will implement an air-cooling system. Porat stated that this initiative is part of a series of investments supporting both the British population and the broader economy, showcasing Google’s ongoing dedication to the UK.

Google’s announcement comes in the wake of Microsoft’s confirmation of a £2.5 billion data center in the UK, a significant investment following regulatory approvals for the £55 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition. Microsoft aims to expand its UK AI infrastructure to meet the rising demand for efficient, scalable, and sustainable AI-specific computing power.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt expressed confidence in the UK’s position as a tech hub in Europe, emphasizing the significance of these investments as a testament to the country’s standing as a science superpower.

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