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Google might be building a floating data center off the coast of San Francisco

The search giant’s latest data center might be its most innovative yet.


Google is known for building data centers in unconventional locations, and using clean power whenever it can to power its data centers. Its Finnish data center’s entire power comes from a Swedish wind farm. Now it looks like the search giant is building a new floating data center off the coast of San Francisco.


A large floating barge containing cargo containers stacked to four stories was found floating in the middle of San Francisco Bay on Treasure Island. CNET’s Daniel Terdiman was the first to launch an investigation into the structure, and found a great deal of evidence linking Google to the mysterious building. The unusual level of security and the subsequent tracking of lease agreements, LinkedIn profiles and contractor documents showed that Google is almost certainly the organization behind the undertaking.


Google is said to be using the Hangar 3 on Treasure Island as the base for construction of the barge, as the construction material that was hauled into the hangar a few months ago has now been inculcated into the floating structure on the barge. The organization that is on the lease agreement for this building, By and Large, is also the organization that is behind the lease of a similar barge that was towed into the harbour in Portland, Maine. The barge in Portland might be another floating data center as it shares the same structure as the one floating in San Francisco Bay.

Google had been issued a patent in 2009 for a water-based data center, and the three individuals to whom the patent was issued, Jimmy Clidaras, David Stiver, and William Hamburgen, still work at Google. A floating data center would use naturally available sea water for cooling, and in doing so reduce running costs significantly. Although sea water contains salt that corrodes metal, it would be an easy fix to install a filtering mechanism that sifts the sat out of the water that is used for cooling the servers.

Source: CNET

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda is an avid reader of science-fiction novels. A long-time Arsenal fan, his other interests include gaming, basketball and making music. He also likes tinkering with hardware in his free time.

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