Google’s Floating Data Center Design Shrouded in Mystery

Recently, locals and news sources in the San Francisco area noticed some strange activity near Treasure Island in the bay. While it remains unconfirmed what the structure is or who it belongs to, several tech experts are convinced it is a floating data center belonging to search engine giant Google.

According to CNET contributor Daniel Terdiman, the four-story structure comprised of shipping containers has been referred to by locals as “the secret project.” However, after investigating lease agreements and associated contacts on LinkedIn, as well as talking with locals and experts, Terdiman is “all but certain” that Google is behind the design and construction of the floating facility, supporting a report on the Google data center design by WiredRE earlier this month.

In addition, the Daily Mail stated that a second floating structure, presumably a modular data center similar to the San Francisco Bay facility, was spotted in the Portland Harbor off the coast of Maine. The structure appears incredibly similar to the facility in California, comprised of shipping containers stacked four stories high. The news source also reported that engineering firm contractors were seen off loading and installing high-tech equipment into the facility, but are unsure as to who the client is or what purpose the mechanisms will serve.

Data Center Design Patent
Such a facility could offer many benefits for data center sustainability and power alternatives. With easy access to the water, this kind of data center could utilize liquid resources for cooling purposes and electricity generation.

Further evidence that the structures belong to Google comes in the form of a patent filed by the company in 2007 and published in 2009.

The document outlines a “water-based data center” and describes a facility which would include “a floating platform-mounted computer data center comprising a plurality of computing units, a sea-based electrical generator in electrical connection with the plurality of computing units, and one or more sea-water cooling units for providing cooling to the plurality of computing units.”

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