updated 08:24 pm EDT, Sun October 27, 2013
Large floating construction hit by permitting issues
A large structure is being built on a barge in San Francisco Bay by Google, according to a number of reports. The barge, located at a former Navy base in the area, is thought to be either a large floating data center, or as an alternative and highly speculative option, a structure devoted to marketing Google Glass and other Google products.
CNET confirms that the barge is owned by Google, and though it is apparently under tight security, is believed by the report to be a data center. The structure's close proximity to water would allow for it to be a cheap source of power as well as a coolant. The report also points towards a patent granted to Google in 2009 for a floating data center as evidence, along with the company's previous use of shipping containers as miniature data centers.
The second possibility from KPIX 5 for a "floating marketing center for Google Glass" suggests it to be a "kind of giant Apple store" dedicated to the headwear. The report goes on to suggest that work on the barge stopped a week ago over permitting issues, with Google being vague to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission about the structure's purpose. Current rules state that the bay cannot be "used for something that can be built on land," something that could be certainly be accomplished by a retail store. Matters are further complicated by the BCDC's plan to build a waterfront arena over two existing piers, reducing the available space in the bay for all water-based traffic, and reducing the chances of Google gaining the required permits.
If the permitting issue is cleared up, sources of KPIX 5 state that Google plans to tow the completed structure to Fort Mason and opened to the public.