May 15, 2012 at 3:11 PM ET
It's always interesting to stop and contemplate how amazing the Internet is sometimes, though most of us stop short of contemplating the actual switches and datacenters that handle all that traffic. For our convenience, Google has put together a nice little interactive animation that shows how an email gets from your outbox to someone else's inbox — with every wire and server accounted for.
It's an interesting and elaborate HTML5 site, not just a video; you follow the email along its path and hit popups with photos and YouTube videos along the way.
The idea is of course to also highlight the various measures the company takes to save energy and keep your data secure. So in that respect it's as much an advertisement as it is a documentary, but that doesn't make it any less fun.
If you're curious what it actually looks like inside a Google datacenter, or want to file away some trivia (employees get to wear shorts to work, and security measures at data-handling facilities include iris and fingerprint scans), take a few minutes to check out The Story of Send.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.