It looks like Google has had enough of the taxes, rules, and regulations associated with hosting its data in various countries around the world. Its solution? Floating data centers
anchored beyond national boundaries. The idea seems pretty ridiculous on its face. The costs associated with maintaining a fleet of barges, in addition to the challenges that would arise regarding server maintenance, power requirements (wave power? really?), and security (protection from real pirates), make the effectiveness of such a solution highly questionable. To make this story even more ridiculous, Google has filed for a patent on the idea, presumably so that it can reap the huge rewards when everyone else realizes that hosting data at sea is the way to go. To be fair, this is likely just a defensive patent filing -- given Google's past patent activities. But what does it say about the patent system when a company has to waste the resources of the patent office, on an idea that's probably never intended to be implemented, with the possible effect of preventing someone else from innovating in a related area? And, even though the idea as proposed may be silly, what if someone else could make something similar work? Do we want a single company to have the exclusive right to attempt something like this? The patent system is supposed to promote progress, not be an anchor dragging it down.