Google is nearing completion of its new data centre, but is keeping information about what the centre does close to its chest.

Although Google officials did go so far as to confirm that the company is building a facility in Oregon (where it is located), that's about all they would say - except to note that the company has technology infrastructure facilities around the world that support its services.

"As the breadth of our services and number of users grow, we will build additional infrastructure to support them," said a Google spokesman."Our facility in Oregon is part of this effort."

Nolan Young, city manager of The Dalles, Oregon, said he has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Design, the Delaware firm that negotiated the purchase of the land on Google's behalf, but he could not confirm when, or if, Google will take up residence. He said the new facility will create between 70 and 100 new jobs and that the location will spread across 34,000 square feet.

Young said: "We have issued building approval and planning approval for those to proceed. We are also providing water and sewer service to those facilities, and three buildings have been approved. Construction is wrapping up on two of them."

Young said one of the reasons Google decided to locate in the community was because the company needed a fibre connection, and the city has one.

Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle said: "All I know is the location has to do with the power station and cooling water supply in close proximity, suggesting that this thing is really big and incredibly power-hungry."

Enderle said the data centre sits on a 30-acre site - with options for future expansion - and should be able to handle over 20 million users, perhaps a lot more.

"It could become the hosting home for a set of applications that currently don’t exist and an expansion point for some, like their video stuff, that are currently just getting started," he said. "It is expected to be cutting-edge and was supposed to go live in 2007. But given the ‘cutting-edge' part, it has significant risk of slipping that time frame.

"In short, it will be one of the most powerful data centres on the planet and may move the consumer market aggressively to a software-as-a-service model - with advertising funding changing dramatically the technology market as we know it," he added.

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