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Want to visit Google's data center in Oregon? Just pick up the nearest Google Cardboard

Google Data Center 360° Tour
Visiting a data enter can be an interesting experience. To the average person, it’s a lot of big, stacked, noisy hardware and plenty of chilled wind to keep all those machines cool. For the hardware enthusiast, and those employed in the related field, there’s plenty of awesomeness to see that makes our world go round, especially in the larger centers. Now both consumers and tech junkies can check out Google’s massive data center planted in the middle of The Dalles, Oregon, without having to leave the comforts of their couch.

“Several months ago, those of us on the Google Cloud Developer Advocacy Team had a rare opportunity to tour the Google data center in The Dalles, Oregon,” reports Google’s Greg Wilson. “Many of us had seen other non-Google data centers in our careers, but this experience was beyond anything we ever imagined. We were blown away by the scale, the incredible attention to security and privacy, and the amazing efforts to make the data center extremely efficient and green.”

The result from this visit to Google’s facility is a virtual tour thrown up on YouTube (8:29). The clip is best viewed using Chrome for desktop, the YouTube app for mobile devices, or Google Cardboard. For the latter option, users simply load up the YouTube app and tap on the Cardboard icon when the video starts to play. Unfortunately, this only works on the Android version for now – Apple iOS support is on the way.

According to the video, most Google employees aren’t even granted access to the facility. During the presentation, viewers using the Chrome browser can grab the screen with just a mouse click and look up, look down, and even turn a full circle while the guide explains hardware and speaks with the locals.

Google opened the data center in The Dalles back in 2006. According to the company, it invested $1.2 billion into the facility and created more than 80 full-time jobs. Google chose the site because The Dalles provides plenty of land for expansions, lots of people to hire, and the local energy infrastructure. There’s reportedly also special enterprise zone tax deals that exempt Google’s computers from local property tax, and a sales tax exemption provided by the state.

The launch of Google’s virtual tour of the facility arrives alongside the Google NEXT 2016 event in San Francisco, which opened its doors on Wednesday. There, individuals of the Google Cloud Platform community have gathered together to check out the latest in cloud technology development.

If you’re wanting to check out the facility in Google Cardboard, you’ll need to get started by seeing what’s available on Amazon here. We’ve tested the $13 kit provided by JoyGeek, and it works great. Google boasts that Cardboard is the best way to experience its 360-degree tour.

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