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Malaysia flirts with Google over world's biggest data center

Hopes to taunt India and Vietnam with boxes

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Always enjoyable and ambiguous "media reports" coming out of Malaysia have Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bragging that Google plans to build the world's largest data center in his country.

That's great news, right?

Uh, well sort of. Malaysia can expect to see upwards of $600m in hardware, software and construction services roll into town, which is nice. After that, though, Google usually employs only 200 workers at its largest data centers. Double that total for the "world's biggest" ad serving sweatshop, and you're looking at 400 workers getting paid to plug things in and mop the floor.

"They want to make their presence felt in Malaysia. It will be a big boost for our ICT (information and communications technology) industry," Abdullah told journalists at the World Economic Forum in Davos, according to reports. Other reporters have Google taunting India and Vietnam as well with the prospect of inheriting the world's biggest data center. So Malaysia will need to do some serious groveling and offer sweet tax breaks to make sure they win the center from their Asian rivals. Give Oklahoma or Iowa a ring to see how it's done.

It used to be pretty sweet when a big company came to town, looking to build a massive factory. Hundreds if not thousands of workers stood to benefit. Sadly, it takes a lot less man power to plant a text ad near a search result.

Just how interesting will life get for the middle class as the Information Age really takes hold? ®

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