Google's mysterious barges: Floating data centers or Glass stores? [u]

Google isn't talking

Who is behind the mysterious By And Large LLC?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is said to be building a series of floating data centers. One is in the San Francisco bay, another's in Portland. The locations of two more are unknown—perhaps they're lost at sea? However, some sources say the mysterious barges are in fact actually marketing centers for Google Glass. Whatever they are, the secrecy around their purpose is getting Google into hot water with regulatory authorities.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers discern the vessels' purpose. Not to mention: Ancient software, complete with emulators...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Daniel Terdiman sees "something big and mysterious" floating: [You're fired -Ed.]

Google's fingerprints are all over it. [It] stands about four stories high and was made [from] cargo containers. [I'm] certain that Google is the entity that is building the massive structure. ... 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.


Time magazine...named Google's idea one of its "best inventions" of 2008 [because] it's easy to areas that are in most need of Internet infrastructure [and it] could produce plenty of power via wave energy at a distance of 3 to 7 miles offshore. ... A representative at C & C Marine and Repair, which built the barge, told me that [it] is capable of going "anywhere the owner can take it," including into open water.  MORE

A jocular Jack Clark coins "containerized bit barns":

Google may be building a floating data center on a barge in the San Francisco bay.


Floating data centers will give Google the ability to quickly migrate large amounts of compute resources to locations in urgent need of bit-crunching, or even allow it to float compute clusters around the world to lower latency for info-hungry areas.  MORE

Cooling with sea water? Your humble blogwatcher reminds you that Google has form:

When Google designed its new €225 million...datacentre in the south-east of Finland, it discovered a natural resource for equipment cooling, right on its doorstep: Cold water. ... Google realised it could implement an idea that’s sometimes called seawater air conditioning (SWAC) or deep-water source cooling.


The water is passed through a heat exchanger to cool the air, which then extract waste heat from the server racks. ... Sounds simple, but there are the inevitable, Devilish details.  MORE

Wait. Floating data center? Allen Martin says it's no such thing:

Google is actually building a floating marketing center...for Google Glass. ... Sources close to the project [said Google will] tow the completed structure from Treasure Island across the Bay to San Francisco’s Fort Mason, where it would be anchored and open to the public.


[But] Google does not have a permit for a floating anything. ... The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission [said] “The Bay is not to be used for something that can be built on land.”  MORE

But Tom Bell has déjà vu:

Since it was towed into Portland Harbor on a barge earlier this month, a four-story windowless building has been a source of intrigue. ... The two barges – the one in Portland and the one in San Francisco – are owned by the same company.


The registration number on the Portland barge is “BAL 0011.” ... The barge in San Francisco Bay is “BAL 0010."  MORE

So Winh Do counts in base-two:

According to the US ship registration database...there are four similar barges, with the convenient names:






It does scream Google.  MORE

Meanwhile, umghhh channels Hollywood:

[The] secret is not that the big artificial island is built but what is its purpose. From all the movies I have seen last few decades, this never ends well - the evil starting from the artificial construction destroys civilization.


Alternatively James Bond arrives and destroys [it]. Either way this thing is going to sink. Possibly in flames.  MORE

Update: Justin Barrett adds his two fishy cents:

Just waiting for the day for Google to say, "Aw snap! Looks like we told everyone we were returning the water at 4° but in reality we were returning it at 9°. Seems like we just killed fifty different species of fish." ... It's pretty crazy the slim margin of error that is allowed in this kind of setup. "Good luck Google!"


The dead fish aren't really what concern's the idea that Google is starting to resort to highly technical industrial processes to maintain their business. ... That Google is resorting to it, speaks of the absolute size of Google to me. ... It's just amazing how huge Google is to be turning to something like this and consider it "economical".  MORE

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