Google’s infrastructure spending continued its upward trend during the fourth quarter, hitting a two-year high of $1.02 billion. Excluding the fourth quarter of 2010, though — in which Google plunked down $2 billion for a massive data center/office location at 111 8th Avenue in New York — the company’s last quarter represents the biggest infrastructure investment in its history.
It’s difficult to say where, exactly, all that investment went, but the record spending probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given the current state of the web economy. Much more than just a search engine, Google now finds itself competing against (or has put itself in a position to compete against) formidable foes in a variety of different areas. Doing battle against companies such as Apple, Facebook, Yelp, Amazon Web Services and (with the advent of Google Fiber) internet service providers — and doing it well — costs a lot.