Mysterious San Francisco Barge May Be Google Store or Data Center

Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 05:01 PM

By David Ogul

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A huge, mysterious barge parked near Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay has captured the imagination of local residents who are focusing in on Google.

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Many are convinced the barge may be a Google data center, or perhaps a Google Glass factory. No one from Google is talking, though an anonymous source from the company confirmed for The New York Times that the barge does, in fact, belong to Google.

The news website CNET, which broke the story, is leaning toward the behemoth being a Google Glass store.

“The idea of a floating Glass store is an odd one, but anything is possible from Google. In fact, after our story ran on Friday, I was contacted by someone who said he had knowledge that the project in the works was a Google store of some kind. The tipster, who is well-connected in Silicon Valley but asked to remain anonymous, told me that he had heard from multiple sources at Google that the company plans to float the Glass stores from city to city by rivers, and that the idea for the project came straight from either Larry Page or Sergey Brin, Google’s founders,” Daniel Terdiman wrote.

Meanwhile, a similar mystery is developing across the country in Portland, Maine. There, the Portland Herald-Press reports, speculation about a barge docked at the Rickers Wharf Marine Facility tends toward it being a data center. The structure appear to be made out of shipping containers, and that pretty much rules out the possibility that they are floating hotels, Joel Egan, a principal at Cargotecture, which designs buildings using shipping containers, told the Herald-Press.

“If it’s Google, it is probably a data center,” he said.

In fact, Jonathan Koomey, a Stanford University research fellow who is an expert on data centers, told the Portland paper that it would be beneficial to have a lot of water available to cool the servers if the building on the barge is a data center.

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