Google mystery Pluto switch

GCN LAB IMPRESSIONS

Cloak, dagger and Google: 'Pluto' switch remains a mystery

Earlier this year, a couple of guys in a small Iowa town mysteriously received a “Pluto Switch” in their office. Although they were savvy enough to recognize it as a network switch, the ports on the front were nothing they’d seen before, and the writing on the back was in Finnish.

They posted some pictures on a networking bulletin board in the hopes that someone would recognize it.

They did eventually figure out that the MAC ID belonged to Google, but were unable to get anyone there to explain the switch. Google wouldn’t tell them anything about it but then did offer them a reward, and the switch was on its way back to the company.

But the identity and function of those ports remain a mystery, according to an article in Wired.

I guess none of us should be really surprised that the company that has, with notable exceptions in a few areas, the largest online everything would use custom-built hardware. If Google managed to tweak one type of connection to go just a hair faster or cost just a teeny bit less, then that would really add up, in Google’s case. And who knows, switches such as this one could one day wind up in your data center, too.

But still, the story of Google being all cloak-and-dagger, offering a reward for its return, no questions answered, is definitely entertaining.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

Reader Comments

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 Editor

Editor's note: To the reader who asked for a picture of the ports, the link to the networking forum going to a post that includes a somewhat blurry shot of the ports. http://www.networking-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=29803

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 Alan

Can you show us a picture of the strange ports? The photo you have is of the power plug, which looks like a standard one. What does the top secret interface port look like?

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above