Google, like other American tech companies, closed its offices in March, when the Covid-19 global pandemic hit San Francisco Bay and all the Silicon Valley. The company initially expected employees to return to work on 6 July 2020, but after the coronavirus began to spread more strongly in California, Google first decided to postpone the return date until at least September 2020, then to reschedule the return of one more year.
Similar decisions have been made by many tech giants. The most drastic was that of Twitter, which last May gave all employees the opportunity to work from home forever. Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, would have decided to postpone the return to the office after a long internal discussion between the managers of the multinational.
Motivating Pichai's decision, explains the American financial newspaper, would have been above all the desire to meet the needs of employees with children who could face a school year with remote lessons.
The Arctic World Archive at the North Pole
In addition to the ark of seeds in the Svalbard islands, which preserves over a million samples, the bank of open source software on which our digital civilization is based has been opened.
Bitcoin, Linux, computer languages such as Rubin and Python are kept under various meters of permafrost, always in Svalbard. Microfilm was chosen as a support, capable according to the creators of surviving the cold for a thousand years.
In 186 reels, the GitHub developer platform now owned by Microsoft, has placed humanity's software in a safe surrounded by steel walls in an old coal mine, 250 meters deep, next to the ark of seeds and biodiversity. In all, 21 terabytes of data were transported to the bank.
Its name is Arctic World Archive and it will be updated every time an important new program is added. The archive was designed for various types of needs: one day we may have to open a document for which a program is no longer available.
CDs and hard drives last only a few tens of years. During the presentation of the project, GitHub said: as the codes that are vital for us today become the historical curiosity of tomorrow, their contents can be abandoned, forgotten or lost.
In the event of a global catastrophe, we may be deprived of everything we have memorized in modern media. Archiving the software using different platforms will help us ensure its long-term storage."