Is Google's Secret Floating Data Center Hiding In Plain Sight?



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This news seems culled from the plot of a dystopian flick starring Harrison Ford, but is likely just technology's forward march toward actualizing a previously imagined future. According to CNET, Google is building a secret, massive, floating data center right smack in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Near a former naval base on Treasure Island, something "big and mysterious" lurks in the water, and it's already being referred to by locals as "the secret project." CNET reports, "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."

The origin and purpose of the structure (previously linked to another mysterious entity called Hangar 3) are still officially unknown, but if CNET's report is on-target, it correlates perfectly with Google's original plans to, indeed, build a large floating data center. Its initial patent was so well-regarded that Time even named it one of the best inventions of the year. Now it seems likely the watery compound will come to fruition.

Being the Internet's most powerful database, it's not surprising Google would create even more innovative locations to store that information. What are the benefits of doing so in San Francisco waters? According to Quartz, proximity to Google's other core California facilities is key, as is temperature control. "Ocean water provides a natural source of coolant for a data center, and cooling is such a critical issue in data centers that companies like Facebook have started building them above the Arctic Circle." This all feels very much like life imitating art, don't you think? (CNET and Quartz)