Google acquires Nevada land for future data center

Google has acquired a significant piece of land in Nevada, near Reno and Tesla’s Gigafactory site, which will house a future data center, and could also host a testing track for Waymo, the Alphabet-owned autonomous driving company. The purchase of the 1,210 acres in Nevada’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center was reported by The Wall Street Journal on Monday, and follows the filing of documents detailing the transaction late last week.

The purchase of land doesn’t mean Google is breaking ground on a new data center immediately; the report says there aren’t any plans in the books to start construction right away. But with increasing emphasis on its cloud-based business, it’s unlikely the company will sit idle on plans to build new data center infrastructure for long.

More interesting might be the WSJ’s assertion that several people suggested Google might use the site as a future testing facility for Waymo’s autonomous vehicles. Nevada is in the process of passing legislation that could see it eventually allow self-driving tests with potentially fewer restrictions than are in place for testing in California, which might make it a good site for high-speed testing of vehicles, above the 35 MPH cap currently in place in Google’s home state.

The theory that Google could use the land for testing of vehicles is based mostly on the regulatory conditions in Nevada, and its co-backing of the bill currently making its way through the legislative process, as well as the fact that the parcel of land is much larger than would be required for any single data center. Still, it’s an interesting possibility, and one that makes sense if Waymo wants to continue expanding its real-world testing capabilities.