Is Google Building Floating Data Centers on Coasts?
Reports from San Francisco, Maine suggest so
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2013 7:48 AM CDT
File photo of a pair of boats making their toward Clipper Cove on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(Newser) – A pair of secretive barges—one on the West Coast and the other on the East—is fueling speculation that Google is turning its theoretical idea of floating data centers into reality. The company isn't confirming anything, however. One of the mystery structures is being built on a barge floating off Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, and investigative reporter Daniel Terdiman of CNET rounds up a boatload of circumstantial evidence suggesting that it is indeed Google behind the four-story "secret project," as the locals call it. What's more, various experts say the specs match perfectly with the concept of a floating data center, an idea that Google patented in 2009.

Among the advantages: Such a center could not only draw power from the ocean but use its water to cool all those servers. The other mystery barge is now sitting in the harbor of Portland, Maine, reports the local Press Herald. It carries a secret structure of its own about the same size as the one in San Francisco. The story floats a number of possibilities to explain it, with a Google data center being one of them. It all seems to add up, writes Chris Taylor at Mashable. "Keeping data in the oceans would cut millions from Google's data storage costs," he writes. "And it can't have failed to escape the company's attention that putting data centers in international waters would theoretically put it beyond the reach of government interference. Sorry, NSA." (In other Google news, the company looks to be backtracking on a promise about banner ads.)

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Oct 28, 2013 11:34 PM CDT
This is a new service called, "Google Shipping Lane." It is like street view but you see shipping lane panoramics instead.
Oct 26, 2013 9:03 PM CDT
This is almost certainly an NSA project using Google as a front, just like the Glomar Explorer was a DoD project to raise a Russian nuclear sub using Howard Hughes and oil exploration as a front (the lift mechanism was also built on a barge in Redwood City and then mated to the ship down in Catalina Island off LA). This is almost certainly an NSA data collection and analysis center that is on a towable barge so it can intercept land connections of data and telecom cables (as comes ashore in SF, for example) as well as satellite coms via antennae, and process information on the spot. Google is just the front company for it. No way would this topheavy hulk be stable 50 miles offshore in the storms that come down from Alaska. This is meant to be used near shore - and likely near where telecom/data cables come ashore - such as the NEC cable down at Santa Cruz Island. This has NSA/Navy joint project with a Google front written all over it - and explains all the Virginia and Maryland plates seen in the vicinity. Interestingly, the barge just like this in Portland was moved down the Columbia river marked as a Navy vessel - Navy TL-1. The US Navy does not mark Google barges! There is another one being built in Maine.
Oct 26, 2013 12:42 PM CDT
yep, first step. Next they gonna build them in international waters and take over the world!