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Google Buys Finnish Paper Mill 166

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-they-aren't-making-google-book dept.
raffnix writes "Today, Finland-based paper group Stora Enso has announced that Google is buying the buildings and most of the Summa Mill site, where production of paper was ceased last month, for approximately 40 million Euros ($51.7 million). Obviously the space is most likely going to serve as a data center, which has now also been confirmed by Reuters."
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Google Buys Finnish Paper Mill

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:10AM (#26827663) Homepage Journal

    Google is buying the buildings and most of the Summa Mill site [...] the space is most likely going to serve as a data center

    Shows what the media knows. Haven't they heard of GMail Paper [google.com]? Here's the spiel from Google:

    Everyone loves Gmail. But not everyone loves email, or the digital era. What ever happened to stamps, filing cabinets, and the mailman? Well, you asked for it, and it's here. We're bringing it back.

    A New Button
    Now in Gmail, you can request a physical copy of any message with the click of a button, and we'll send it to you in the mail.

    Simplicity Squared
    Google will print all messages instantly and prepare them for delivery. Allow 2-4 business days for a parcel to arrive via post.

    Total Control
    A stack of Gmail Paper arrives in a box at your doorstep, and it's yours to keep forever. You can read it, sort it, search it, touch it. Or even move it to the trash--the real trash. (Recycling is encouraged.)

    Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe
    Google takes privacy very seriously. But once your email is physically in your hands, it's as secure as you want to make it.

    Is it free?
    Yes. The cost of postage is offset with the help of relevant, targeted, unobtrusive advertisements, which will appear on the back of your Gmail Paper prints in red, bold, 36 pt Helvetica. No pop-ups, no flashy animations--these are physically impossible in the paper medium.

    With Google's ad revenue suffering due to economic conditions, I imagine they need this new source of revenue very badly. For those who are curious, Wikipedia has a great article [wikipedia.org] detailing the history of this new venture by Google.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      While your post is informative and interesting, the Reuters article has a lot more than you do:

      "We are currently considering to build a data centre at this site," said Google spokesman Kay Oberbeck.

      And on top of that, from the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]:

      An earlier (brutally honest) press release from Stora Enso reveals that the mill site was closed down because of "persistent losses in recent years and poor long-term profitability prospects" It continues: "Despite tremendous efforts by its employees, the mill cannot compete in today's and tomorrow's markets using expensive virgin wood fibre, much of which is imported".

      So you're arguing that because they need revenue, they bought a failing paper mill in an nonstrategic location (shipping all that paper to the states?! come on!) ... pretty weak argumant AKAImBatman.

      • They shut it down for a lack of wood fiber? They should just have planted 30 one-acre stands of Supertrees near by- one a year.

      • by Sj0 (472011)

        Almost all paper mills are failing. Every week brings news of another mill closing down, and it's been this way for years.

        I do agree it's a silly idea buying that mill for making paper, but let's not pretend the paper industry is healthy.

        • by rts008 (812749)

          Having lived near a paper mill before, all I can say at this point is...I, for one welcome our new paperless(and less stinky) Overlords!!!
          All Hail google!!!(if they don't resume making paper!)

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Good grief, I think paper emails might be for real. This is horrible. Come on people, think of the trees. If you spend a few minutes learning how to use the archive and search functions on your mail program you'll realize how worthless printouts are. But I guess I'm preaching to the choir here.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Some people have a requirement to keep certain documents for 7,10, or even 20+ years, digital isn't necessarily the best format to keep such documents.
        • by pla (258480)
          Some people have a requirement to keep certain documents for 7,10, or even 20+ years, digital isn't necessarily the best format to keep such documents.

          Not the best format? For keeping any substantial number of documents that long, you should consider digital the only format to use.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mabhatter654 (561290)

            on the contrary, for legal purposes it would be better to clear your email inbox every 3 months and archive the emails involving SOX matters to another location... for a small business paper would be perfectly fine. What you DON'T want in SOX procedures is to have many locations of "stuff" out there on various backup tapes "just in case". If you have legal trouble they'll suddenly want EVERY backup tape you ever made as evidence.. you need to have a system that PROVES only specific locations have legal doc

            • by rts008 (812749)

              ...for a small business paper would be perfectly fine...

              Yeah, only think of yourself!
              Nevermind that there is a whole world out there that *you* are only an insignificant part of.

              Let the rest of us/the world know what you need.

              If you have legal trouble they'll suddenly want EVERY backup tape you ever made as evidence..you need to have a system that PROVES only specific locations have legal documents

              Yes, pick and choose...ignore the real facts-SpinDoctor[tm] To the rescue!!!

              If it can't be released to the worl

          • by afidel (530433)
            Yes, anyone who's ever done an research on long term record retention realizes that the problems involved in physically storing digital records long term are significant as is format selection. On the other hand the retention of physical paper records is well understood and mechanically simple, the only basic requirement being low acid paper (and even that might not be needed for 7-10 year retention).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Informative? This is Google's April 1st joke from 2007.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%27s_hoaxes#Gmail_Paper [wikipedia.org]

      Read the personal quotes on the "More Info" page:

      "Now that I have Gmail Paper, I understand the difference between labels and folders. I had one message with two labels, but when I tried to stick the paper version into two filing cabinets at the same time, it just wouldnâ(TM)t go."

      "It's paper, plain and easy. I sometimes find myself wondering: what will Google think of next? Cardboard?"

      Bill K., Armchair Futurist

      But what about the environment?

      Not a problem. Gmail Paper is made out of 96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum, and thus, actually helps the environment. For every Gmail Paper we produce, the environment gets incrementally healthier.

    • Because some mods obviously didn't get it that was an April Fools Joke from 2007.
    • by Shrike82 (1471633)
      If anyone would like to actually click the Gmail paper link, you'll hopefully discover that this is some elaborate joke. From the page:

      " "Now that I have Gmail Paper, I understand the difference between labels and folders. I had one message with two labels, but when I tried to stick the paper version into two filing cabinets at the same time, it just wouldn't go."

      But what about the environment? Not a problem. Gmail Paper is made out of 96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum, and thus, actually helps the environment. For every Gmail Paper we produce, the environment gets incrementally healthier.

      Good to see people reading things properly...

    • After all, even with this new addition to Gmail, production is going to be down. As a person born in Albany, OR, and having to smell the paper plant every time I go back- let's just say at least as smog it has "flavor" (a kind of spicy smell....)

    • Wow. Sometimes I wonder who the hell falls for infomercials and Nigerian scams. Then I see responses to an obvious hoax like the previous, and it all makes sense.

      Please tell me that the previous responses to this were trying to be ironic, I'd feel a lot better about the human race.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by camperdave (969942)

      No pop-ups, no flashy animations--these are physically impossible in the paper medium.

      But... Pop-ups [makersgallery.com] and flashy animations [nerdkits.com] are physically possible in the paper medium

    • by hajile78 (975999)
      From the example of the US Government Google will now be printing it's own Money. GMoney
    • by slashdotmsiriv (922939) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:42PM (#26829193)

      One of my favorite parts of the joke was the testimonial:

      "Now that I have Gmail Paper, I understand the difference between labels and folders. I had one message with two labels, but when I tried to stick the paper version into two filing cabinets at the same time, it just wouldnâ(TM)t go."

      Mayumi M., Associate

    • Note to self: this post has not received enough replies stating how it should not have gotten an any Insightful moderation. Reply with another post to point out the same thing when you have time.
  • I hear that this new data centre will be run on trees that are harvested in a non-sustainable way and any small furry animals they find while chopping the trees now (especially squirrels).

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      No - they purchased that site just to be able to put up the sign "Ei saa peittää" on something.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:13AM (#26827723)

    No, I see what Google's angle is. Get everybody using computers, move away from paper, and once nobody else is making paper suddenly Google will come out with the latest hot product only available on paper! And you have to have this product; nay, you need this product. You couldn't face your friends and family without it. This plan is so cunning, so clever, so devious, you could stick a tail on it and call it Karl Rove.

  • by dmomo (256005) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:14AM (#26827725) Homepage

    I thought everyone new that due to the advent of Internet and Google (docs, mail, etc) *ALL* Paper Mills were Finnished.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    month != year

  • "Print is dead."
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:17AM (#26827765)

    wow.
    A paper mill is just a big building. I use to work for a company where the building use to be an old saw mill. Heck the house I live in use to be a small Candy Factory.

    • by primalamn (716272) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:38AM (#26828145)
      It is also a very big building with a massive supply of electricity already installed. Paper mill machinery is very large and runs of major amounts of electricity, so buying a defunct paper mill is a very good idea on their part, as the retrofit will not be the total infrastructure of the building.
      • Also paper mills use a lot of water. Building cooling systems use water, not as much as a paper mill but using that existing infrastructure also helps.
        • by dgr73 (1055610)
          Not to mention that in Finland the big problem is not really cooling, it's keeping warm.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Scrameustache (459504)

        It is also a very big building with a massive supply of electricity already installed.

        Even better: Many paper mills are located next to rapids in rivers, where they have their own hydroelectric generators.

      • And in fact they had good security around the building as well which is also a good thing. Like fences etc.

      • by Rogue974 (657982) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:55PM (#26830317)

        Interesting thoughts, but not necessarily valid all around. I worked in pulp and paper for 6.5 years, so I know my way around paper mills and had a few thoughts.

        Yes, paper mills have large electric service hook ups. Not diffcult to hook into.

        Yes, paper mills use their own closed loop water systems, BUT when the paper mill was decommissionined, most of that equipment was probably taken away and went to another facility of the paper company. Also, the systems are at times "closed loop", but they are also quite often closed loop when you look at the facility entire with the water that hits the floor being recycled back into the water system for reuse.

        Also, paper mills water systems usually deal with 10" + diameter pipes I imagine most of the piping would not be a good reuse for cooling in a server environment without sever revamping.

        The standards required for server cooling loops and that of a paper mill are quite differnet. In paper mills, it is a routine task to take a hose and spray things down. Because of this, small leaks in pipe, no big deal, the water will flow into the sumps and be picked up and put back in. Imagine reusing the old pipes to do some cooling loops and have a water spray t 140 psi shooting water across your server room or into the cube farm.

        Someone pointed out many paper mills are on rivers and generate their own power. Even if not using the river (which they need to dump effluent as well), many have power generating stations associated with them as well. There is a good chance that the mill has a generating station hooked to it. Google coudl have purchased that, or the paper company could have maintained ownership. Either way, the new data center is probably connected to the power station to increase reliability.

        So I think the big thing that Google gets out of it is:

        A shell of a building (take almost everything out from inside)
        Large electrical server
        Possible power generating station ownership or being directly connected to the power station.

    • Are you that guy who drives around elementary schools in a windowless van with "FREE CANDY" spray painted on the side? If you live in a candy factory you could offer Willy Wonka tours, too.

  • Something smells rotten in Denma--I mean, Finland.
  • by jafiwam (310805) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:18AM (#26827799) Homepage Journal

    They just need industrial space. It just so happens that paper mills, like data centers need a lot of electricity.

    Which is cheap if your grid is fed by a hydroelectric dam (Summa, Finland area does have hydro-power).

    Lots of paper mills have gone out of business in the last decade, changing paper use habits has caused this.

    • by kqc7011 (525426) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:46AM (#26828283)
      There is also a paper mill in Niagara Wi. that is also being closed by Stora Enso that has its own hydro electric dam. Google could do the same thing here. Google could put a small town back to work. And make a profit selling the extra electricity too. Something different, a data center that pays for itself.
      • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:22PM (#26828819)

        I was not aware that the Niagara paper mill was closing down. But I don't think a data center will employ as much people as a paper mill, nor will it be of the same skill set. While it certainly would create some good paying jobs, Niagara will need more than that to replace the jobs lost.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gEvil (beta) (945888)
        Just be careful. A few weeks ago someone was telling me to watch out for the Niagaran Paper Mill scam.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        There is also a paper mill in Niagara Wi. that is also being closed by Stora Enso that has its own hydro electric dam. Google could do the same thing here. Google could put a small town back to work.

        While the actual production line of pulp to paper is quite automated, the reason a paper mill is a big deal is that it's lots of manual labor, lots of people to supervise and maintain trucks and machinery, lots of shipping and handling and so on. Computer center? Throw up a well controlled environment with sensors and there it sits, replacing parts is nothing like maintaining the milling equipment and most other things can be done remotely. I'd be very surprised if they need 1/10th the manpower that the mil

      • Not sure how much this matters, but Niagara is out in the middle of nowhere. Being between Rhinelander and Escanaba is pretty much guarantees that. Plus it's dangerously close to the UP.

    • by houghi (78078)

      Not only do they need space. I heard that they also need to be near water to be used for cooling. A paper mill will have access to water.

    • Paper mills need lots of water. Y'know like for cooling.
       

  • Its 2009 already! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:20AM (#26827821)
    This is the second article this week that confuses 2008 with 2009. The other was the article on the LHC startup.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      CmdTaco is living in the past.

      You're living in the past, man! - Leo from That 70's Show

    • Make that third -- a couple days ago, there was a story about a vim update from 6 months ago.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was wondering why 2008 felt much longer than 2007.

    • Slashdot had a bad network problem a few days ago. I think one of their servers has reset its system clock in consequence; that would explain this. :P

  • Gmoney (Score:3, Funny)

    by robert899 (769631) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:22AM (#26827857)
    They bought it to print their own currency. By the time it's up an running, the US dollar will be worthless due to inflation. Prudent business decision I must say :-)
    • They bought it to print their own currency.

      You never know. Google might actually compete Linden Dollars with G$

    • by ultranova (717540)

      They bought it to print their own currency. By the time it's up an running, the US dollar will be worthless due to inflation. Prudent business decision I must say :-)

      Buying a printing press might have been even more prudent, but oh well...

  • where production of paper was ceased last month in January 2008

    Last month was in 2009. I hope you are more reliable than that on your other article.
  • last month in January 2008

    I knew it! CmdrTaco is a Time Traveller. Getting our news from the past.. brilliant!

  • Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:33AM (#26828047) Homepage Journal
    Big corporation buys some land to put buildings on. Previous occupant happened to be a paper mill, but who cares? Maybe I'm crazy, but I really don't see what's so newsworthy about this.
    • by Shrike82 (1471633)
      I'm also not seeing the importance of this. Sounds about as interesting as me posting a /. article about the view from my office window, or a lengthy description of the various fillings in my daily sandwiches.
      • by ultranova (717540)

        I like mettwurst, especially Russian mettwurst. Salami is also good, and tuna covered with cheese which is melted in a microwave is a classic.

    • by skyride (1436439)
      Agreed.
    • by jimwelch (309748)

      This is why I marked it badtitle in tags! Just add the word FORMER to paper mill and it would be more accurate and informative.

    • Perhaps it's the symbolism; like an auto repair shop replacing a saddle shop at the beginning of the last century.

    • From Finnish viewpoint the news is very interesting, because these paper mill sites (Summa, Kemijarvi mill, and some others) have been continuously in the headlines for the last two years due to their closing down. Many of the cities these factories have resided in are in rather remote locations, and there aren't many companies who are interested in the facilities, meaning a significant share of the taxpayers suddenly become unemployed, without much hope for new companies appearing.

      Now the headline where Go

  • Primatech (Score:5, Funny)

    by Per Wigren (5315) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:35AM (#26828093) Homepage

    Are you sure it wasn't Primatech they aquired? That would fit perfectly with their "Don't be evil" motto.

  • ...which has now also been confirmed by Reuters.

    Wait, didn't Wikipedia just kill the liability [slashdot.org] of journalism?

  • Wouldn't want them to buy an Unfinnish factory now would we?

  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:50AM (#26828353) Homepage

    My co worker tells me they have a power plant on site, so tick the electricity box...

    The location is right my the sea, and also handily close to Russia. There's a map in this Helsingin Sanomat article:
    http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Stora+Enso+closing+Summa+and+Kemij%C3%A4rvi+mills+at+brisk+pace+/1135233375617 [www.hs.fi]

    So basically they can easily lay cable from and to the site, and they can have excellent connections to Russia without actually having to place the hardware there. (Not that I'm sure it would be an issue these days.)

    Also, they can literally put the hardware on a ship and ship it right to the location.

  • by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:56AM (#26828429)

    Should be "Google to produce hardcopy of Internet"

  • Doesn't sound like google they don't finnish anything half their products are still in beta!

  • to merely put the newspaper industry's reason for existence into doubt

    now google actually has to go out and confiscate newspapers' means of production and forcibly convert paper mills into data centers? talk about insult on top of injury

    i think someone at google is taking this whole notion of the digital "revolution" a little too seriously, no? do they assassinate rupert murdoch and demolish the conde nast building next?

    • > ...do they assassinate rupert murdoch...

      We can only hope.

  • Paper = weight (Score:5, Informative)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:28PM (#26829887)

    Paper mills are designed for heavy machines and heavy rolls of paper. That means that they have strong floors which don't flex, and they don't collapse when you put in a few tons of batteries.

    Because of this, telcos (which are largely DC operations and have huge battery backups) love defunct printing buildings and use them for switches.

    It makes perfect sense that Google would want such a stable, heavy building.

  • Stora Kopparberg (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Björn (4836) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:44PM (#26830155)

    Today, Finland-based paper group Stora Enso

    Stora Enso has its headquarters in Finland, but it is both a Finnish and Swedish company. In 1998 Swedish Stora Kopparberg and Finnish Enso-Gutzeit Oy merged into Stora Enso. What is interesting about Stora Kopparberg ("great copper mountain") is that it started out as a copper mining company and is probably the oldest existing corporation in the world. The first shares for Stora came out in 1288.

  • I read the headline and I thought, "Well, shoot, so many people plagiarize their papers from Google searches that Google might as well own the diploma mill, too. So much for 'do no evil'."

    Then the coffee kicked in.

  • Who in turn probably just read it on /.

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