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.
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.
Sometime late last year, a company began a substantial project inside a cavernous building on Treasure Island known as Hangar 3....MORE