When you basically run the Internet, you need the capacity to stay online. In Google’s case, it runs and operates numerous data centers, and uses over 100,000 miles of underwater fiber optic cables. Unfortunately, mother nature has no interest in keeping the Internet alive, and is making it pretty difficult to keep these pipes in good shape. Why? Sharks. The search giant says that these deadly predators are proving to be a big nuisance, requiring an entire reinforcement initiative just to repair the damage.
The new project was announced by Google cloud team project manager, Dan Belcher, at its Google Cloud Roadshow earlier this month. As part of the project, Belcher revealed that Google will be wrapping these cables in Kevlar-like material, but didn’t say much else about the project. With upwards of 100,000 miles to cover, identifying the spots stricken by shark attacks is likely a pretty daunting undertaking, but it’s something that needs to be done.
Apparently sharks are mistaking these cables for distressed fish—you can actually see a shark bite one of these submarine cables in the video above. Notice as it casually swims up, sinks its teeth into the cable, and then swims away as if nothing happened. I think you can even see the exact moment when the shark realizes, Oh, this is definitely not a fish.
Google believes the sharks are attracted to the electric and magnetic fields around and along the cables, which is causing the confusion. The new Kevlar armor affixed to the affected areas won’t suppress the output of these signals, but it’ll ensure these sharks no longer rip these cables to shreds.