Is Google building a hulking floating data center in SF Bay?

SAN FRANCISCO — Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google’s fingerprints are all over it.

It’s unclear what’s inside the structure, which stands about four stories high and was made with a series of modern cargo containers. The same goes for when it will be unveiled, but the big tease has already begun. Locals refer to it as the secret project.

Google did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But after going through lease agreements, tracking a contact tied to the project on LinkedIn, talking to locals on Treasure Island, and consulting with experts, it’s all but certain that Google is the entity that is building the massive structure that’s in plain sight, but behind tight security.

via Is Google building a hulking floating data center in SF Bay? | Internet & Media – CNET News.


5 thoughts on “Is Google building a hulking floating data center in SF Bay?

  1. Google has always been good about informing the public about what they are up to. However, in this case, Google has not commented on what is really going on with this “mysterious barge.” There has also been another sighting of one of these being built in New England. I cant see this being anything other than a data center. Hopefully Google has come up with a way of making this better for the environment. Only time will tell

  2. I also hope that this innovative project will be promising environmentally… but why keep it such a secret if it is just an eco-friendly floating data center ? Why wouldn’t Google want to ‘brag’ about a concept that they patented that would help save the environment and efficiently process data. Is it common practice to keep secret what you are building as a company of great service and power for security sake? Even so, Google usually likes to keep their users in the know, at least seemingly so, so why hide this? I am asking this question not to imply that there is something dark and secret happening, but genuinely out of wonder about why – if it is what people think it is – would Google want to keep it so secret?

    Also… when thinking about how this trend might affect the future.. will this type of floating data center eventually lead to ‘sovereign’ data centers and therefore possibly eliminate risks that places such as Sealand/HavenCo faced (of uncooperative intermediaries) ?

  3. With the relevant patent described in the article and sheer logic of a floating data center, it seems pretty clear that this is indeed what they are building. What’s especially curious is the abnormally high level of security/secrecy concerning its creation. Perhaps they have intentions of selling proprietary Google made equipment which makes this sort of setup feasible and extra efficient? Perhaps instead they plan on selling entire data center barges! Imagine the success behind offering a complete and scaleable data center delivered, and ready to deploy on a coastline near you.

    Of course, the secrecy could simply be a tactic to generate buzz and ultimately admiration for Google’s sophisticated engineering.

  4. I find this interesting. Google has a hand in everything. Their presence is definitely known. So why not create a floating data structure. It will benefit them because they can now use the sea as a cooling mechanism that is inexpensive and once again allow them to do something to get their name out there more, if thats even possible. All signs point to this structure being theres and it only makes sense for them to go in that direction.

  5. I think this could potentially be a really good idea in terms of the energy consumed to support these data structures. I also wonder why Google would want to keep this a secret?

    What are the negatives if this does work out and ends up curtting costs for Google and using less energy?

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