Google is bigger than we all imagined

FILE - In this May 30, 2007 file photo, a Google sign is seen inside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Google is a massive, integral part of our lives. You know this because your instinctual reaction when the power goes out is to hop on the Internet and google "power out Philadelphia," only to remember that your Internet isn't working because the power is out. You might also recognize this when you're on and click in the search bar to navigate to Bored much?

But, really, Google is a larger entity than anyone had imagined. In fact, on any given day, Google accounts for 25-percent of the commercial Internet traffic in North America. Before you try to wrap your brain around that, take note that Facebook, Netflix and Instagram combined can't account for that type of traffic.

Three years ago, the company’s services accounted for about 6 percent of the internet’s traffic.

“What’s really interesting is, over just the past year, how pervasive Google has become, not just in Google data centers, but throughout the North American internet,” says Craig Labovitz, founder ofDeepfield, the internet monitoring company that crunched the data. His probes show that more than 62 percent of the smartphones, laptops, video streamers, and other devices that tap into the internet from throughout North America connect to Google at least once a day.

Labovitz calls Google’s traffic “astounding.” The lion’s share of it comes from YouTube. But Google traffic involving search, analytics, web apps, and advertising is far from insignificant.

This growth has allowed Google plenty of opportunities for... aggressive expansion. The company now touts data centers on four continents and has added Google Global Cache servers to most of their ISPs to store its most popular content (think Paula Deen videos from a few weeks ago).

Still, Netflix and Google’s move into so many of the ISP network operations centers that are just a few miles from its customers — what networking geeks call the “edge” of the network — is likely to be followed by other internet giants such as Apple and Facebook, Labovitz believes. “It used to be that the focus of people like Google and Facebook was about building data centers,” he says. “They’re still doing that, but what is equally interesting is watching these edge boxes — these servers being embedded just everywhere.”  [Wired]