Google Floating Data Center

It looks like Google has been working on an oversize secret project on San Francisco's Treasure Island. A water-based data center? Could well be.
This large structure, which is likely being built by Google, could be a floating data center. It is located on a barge just off Treasure Island, between San Francisco and Oakland.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
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.
Could the structure be a sea-faring data center? One expert who was shown pictures of the structure thinks so, especially because being on a barge provides easy access to a source of cooling, as well as an inexpensive source of power -- the sea. And even more tellingly, Google was granted a patent in 2009 for a floating data center, and putting data centers inside shipping containers is already a well-established practice.
Whether the structure is in fact a floating data center is hard to say for sure, of course, since Google's not talking. But Google, understandably, has a history of putting data centers in places with cheap cooling, as well as undertaking odd and unexpected projects like trying to bring Internet access to developing nations via balloons and blimps.
Hangar 3
Sometime late last year, a company began a substantial project inside a cavernous building on Treasure Island known as Hangar 3.
Since then, Hangar 3 and the areas immediately adjacent have been under various stages of lock-down. Thanks to Google's own satellite imagery, though, it's possible to get a glimpse of the early stages of the project, and much of which was being worked on outside the building but shielded behind a long security fence.
Sometime after Hangar 3 was occupied, the building and much of the adjacent area was cordoned off behind security fencing, ensuring that no one could see in.
(Credit: Screenshot by CNET)
It's also possible to tell from that imagery and by visiting Treasure Island that whatever was under construction in the area outside Hangar 3 has since been moved to a floating barge alongside the pier adjacent to the property, which is off-limits to the public and guarded by private security.
The barge is 250 feet long, 72 feet wide, and 16 feet deep, and was built in 2011 in Belle Chasse, La., by C & C Marine and Repair. Its registration number is BAL 0010. Behind it is a perfect view of the new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. On top is a four-story-tall modular building made from shipping containers and sporting 12 tall white spires that look like 


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