Google Handles an Astonishing Amount of Internet Traffic

Photo: Google/Connie Zhou via
This is an astonishing number. Google handles fully one-quarter of all the internet traffic in North America every single day!
Wired says that’s bigger than Facebook, Netflix and Instagram combined. That’s why Google has been going full bore to build out its infrastructure.

To handle its growth, Google has been on a building binge. It now has data centers on four continents. All this work has been getting a lot of attention. But the tech titan is also hip-deep in another type of build-out, one that’s largely gone under the radar.

Google has added thousands of servers — called Google Global Cache servers — to ISPs around the world. These servers store the most popular content from Google’s network — a YouTube video that’s going viral right now or apps from the Android marketplace, for example — then serve it directly from the ISP’s data center, rather than streaming it all the way from Google’s data center. These servers were in a handful of North American ISPs three years ago. Today, they’re in 80 percent of them, Labovitiz says.