The Internet has discovered that it is being attacked by sharks! Yes, that’s a serious statement of fact. But, oh lawdy, lawd… thank jeebus that Google is coming to the rescue.
It appears we’ve known for some time that sharks like to bite undersea cables. The New York Times reported in 1987 that, “sharks have shown an inexplicable taste for the new fiber-optic cables that are being strung along the ocean floor linking the United States, Europe, and Japan.”
The Internet giant Google is taking steps to wrap its cable in what appears to be Kevlar, which Salon reports is to guard against the shark bites.
Google confirmed to me that its newest generation of undersea cables comes wrapped in special protective yarn and steel wire armor—and that the goal is to protect against cable cuts, including possible shark attacks.
To digress for a moment, it’s not clear that the coating Google is using is actually Kevlar, per se. A little searching on Google’s own handy website reveals that the company actually holds a patent of its own for a material called “polyethylene protective yarn.”
It makes sense that Google would be investing in better ways to protect transoceanic data cables. Over the years there have been several instances in which damage to undersea lines resulted in widespread disruptions of Internet service. Dependable network infrastructure has become increasingly essential to Google’s business, which relies on ultra-fast transmissions of information between its data centers around the world.
Why are sharks attracted to undersea data cables? Unclear. Several outlets have pointed out that sharks can sense electromagnetic fields, so perhaps they’re attracted by the current. Alternatively, a shark expert from Cal State-Long Beach suggested to Wired, they may just be curious.
Maybe sharks like cat pictures too? Or maybe they just think they’re going to get a taste of kitty? Who knows. One thing’s for sure though, we must stop sharks from biting the Internet! Thankfully Google is biting back!