Google’s battle against cable-eating sharks

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SharkCable-eating sharks: they’re not the antagonists of another terrible horror movie, but a real threat to Google. It turns out Jaws and pals have been nibbling on — and therefore damaging — undersea fibre-optic cables, which transmit internet signals around the world.

Why? It’s not that they’re acting on a jealousy-fuelled grudge against cat videos, or protesting Google’s right to be forgotten activities.

Sharks have a sense called electroreception that helps them hunt down fish, who produce small electrical currents with every muscle movement. The high-voltage cables are producing similar signals, making shark mouths water and encouraging them to get their chomp on.

Here’s some footage of a shark taking a bite of an underwater cable, who looks understandably disappointed when the result is more electric eel than tasty meal.

But not to worry; Google has recognised this fishy threat and responded with a $300 million investment into an undersea cable infrastructure called FASTER. At a recent Google Cloud Roadshow event in Boston, Product Manager Dan Belcher said these trans-Pacific cables will be protected by a Kevlar-like material, which should prove impenetrable even to sharks’ multiple rows of razor-sharp teeth.

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