Google's New Barge Fleet?

Originally published 10-29-13.  11-8-13 update and answer, at the bottom of the post.

Google's at it again.  This time, instead of manipulating the world of web site owners and authors, they've got something going on that has captured the curiosity of the public itself.  That being the barges of Google.  Yes, Google barges.

Here's the multiple low-downs on what these boats are or do:

There are multiple cargo container boats that stand about four stories tall.  One is floating around Treasure Island in the SF Bay area, and another one off of Portland, Maine.

They're possibly:

-Apple Store-like marketing center for Google Glass

-Water-based data center,

-Backup data centers (in the event of a natural disaster).


The first option confuses me.  Sources are saying these barges will be towed to land and open for folks to visit.

The second option seems to make it an extra of one of their many data centers.

The third option confuses me because all their data is replicated around the world and the only kind of natural disaster that could threaten Google would have to be world-wide.

Other rumors suggest it's a marketing center for Google Glass. Once completed it will be towed to shore.


The 2nd option seems most plausible.

Back in or around 2007 to 2009, Google was granted patents for floating data centers.  The premise is that they're looking to use sea water as coolants, making it a rather efficient process for running their thousands of servers in a single location.

I've been privy to one of their data centers in Sunnyvale, and what they did there is pull the box tops off the servers and removed the cooling fans.  This let the heat emanate outward rather than being contained and used the cool air that AC units provided.  It was eerie quiet and so efficient.

Other potential purposes for the floating data centers is to be able to move such a resource to regions that have low data latency.

That other rumor about Google Glass, could be nothing but hot air, considering that Google has no permit for building anything on the ocean, or, in the bay.  Besides, that doesn't address the other item off the coast of Portland Maine.

Or the other boat/barges they're rumored to have.

The registration number on the Portland barge is BAL 0011.  In the Bay, BAL 0010.   The US Ship registration database suggests there are two more out there, BAL 0001 and BAL 1000.


Eh, this could be the beginning of a very bad sci-fi movie. Like Skynet or, Google Glass maybe?

It's just nice to see Google f*ing with someone else besides website authors.


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{ sanfrancisco.cbslocal }

11-8-13 UPDATE:

And the verdict is in, in the form of a press release from Google, in that these mystery barges are just another form of marketing for Google.

Their press note said, "we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology."

Great.  Now we know.  I guess.

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