There’s something strange happening in the San Francisco Bay, and it seems to involve Google and a giant barge made out of shipping containers. Google has never been shy about chasing audacious new technology – hello Google Glass and self-driving vehicles –  and it seems that the tech company may be secretly working on one of its latest ideas: a floating data center. No one is sure exactly what is going on, but according to a few inquisitive souls at Cnet, it looks like Google is responsible for a giant barge being constructed just off of Treasure Island.

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Treasure Island is a manmade island that was once a military base. These days it’s an emerging neighborhood in the San Francisco area, but one building, known as Hangar 3, has been unusually active lately. The building has been locked down with round-the-clock security, but it is clear that something is being constructed behind the fencing. Much of the construction was recently moved to a barge that sits just off of the island. The barge itself is 250 feet long and 72 feet wide. The structure being built on top of it consists of 4 stories, made out of shipping containers.

If the structure is a data center, it could harvest electricity from waves and use fresh water to reduce the need for energy-intensive cooling systems. Google hasn’t responded to press inquiries, so everything is just speculation at this point – but a water-based data center makes sense. In 2009 the company took out a patent for a floating data center that utilizes ocean water to keep servers cool. But only time will tell exactly what is taking place on the mystery barge.

Via Gizmodo and Cnet

Images from Google and Apple Maps