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Google deploying floating structures at ports on east and west coast

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
Mysterious Google-owned, barge-borne structures made of slotted-together cargo containers have recently appeared on both coasts, and speculation as to the structures' purpose is running wild.

Google's floating building
The mystery San Francisco barge | Source: CNET


Two structures of similar design have thus far been photographed, one moored at San Francisco's Treasure Island and the other at a wharf in Portland, Maine. A third is rumored to be under construction in Connecticut, but photos of the southern New England erection have yet to surface.

Each edifice looks to be constructed from 48 standard-sized shipping containers arranged in a three "decks," each featuring sixteen containers laid out in a four by four grid. The decks sit atop a slightly shorter and narrower base that appears to also be made of containers, and a portion of a container at one end of the lowest deck is angled down to form a "ramp," which presumably acts as the entrance to the facility.

Portland's Press Herald was the first to report on the structures and initiated speculation on a possible link to Google. The paper spoke to the CEO of Cianbro, a marine outfitting company working on the Maine-docked barge, who said the firm is "absolutely forbidden to discuss it in any way or in any detail," but indicated that the project will be of great benefit to the state.

Google's floating building
The mystery Portland, Maine barge | Source: Portland Press Herald


CNET published a much more in-depth report last week and found evidence that the San Francisco version is indeed owned by the search giant and suggests it is being prepared as a floating datacenter. Google is the owner of a 2009 patent for floating data centers which would anchor up to seven miles off shore, using wave energy generators for power and taking advantage of cool ocean water for temperature regulation.

"The cutouts in the long walls of the containers, when they line up, they make hallways," Joel Egan, head of cargo container building design firm Cargotecture, told CNET. "You could put all sorts of mainframes into the containers."

San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX followed up with an investigation of its own, reporting that sources told the station the barges are not destined to become datacenters, but rather floating marketing hubs for Mountain View's Google Glass augmented reality headgear.

KPIX says Google's ultimate goal would be to park the barge at San Francisco's Fort Mason, but that work has stalled because the company is having difficulty obtaining the necessary permits.

Taking into consideration Google's patent, the simultaneous construction of at least two of the structures --?one on each coast of the United States --?and Google's history of going to great lengths to increase the reliability, speed, and power efficiency of its datacenter network, it would seem that the datacenter explanation is the more plausible of the two.
post #2 of 61
No property taxes for their off shore data centers.
post #3 of 61

Heck yes, time for the ship jokes.

 

“Isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top…”

post #4 of 61
Lets see%u2026%u2026 would a giant water heater running 24/7 have any environmental impact on the the surrounding water temperature and marine life...

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All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
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post #5 of 61
What about storms and hurricanes%u2026I hope they have researched this enough...
post #6 of 61

They should call it the Sea Drive.

post #7 of 61
So not relevant to Apple news.
post #8 of 61
Off shore tax shelter.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #9 of 61
16 x 4 = 64 not 48.

Presumably the author meant that it's 12 long by 4 wide (by 3 high).
post #10 of 61
Perhaps they are Google's local spy command centers.
post #11 of 61

I think they're building floating "armored cars" and that Apple is finally going to bring some of their billions of dollars back home!

post #12 of 61
Probably something evil.

It is Google.
post #13 of 61
I support anyone who finds a use for the seventeen gazillion (some sources say up to nineteen gazillion) shipping containers that are sitting disused and rusting in massive mountains around the world. My city has several such mountains! What a waste.
post #14 of 61
Forget Google Glass and bring in Google Goggles.
post #15 of 61
So, I find it hard to believe no government agency knows exactly what this is. From a homeland security standpoint, you would think you could not just build a huge floating barge, park one on each coast, and not have someone demand to know exactly what it is. Even less sinister, you would think that you could not build a monster floating structure in SF Bay and not have SF or at least California not know exactly what it is for environmental compliance reasons or complying with work safety rules during construction and other regulations.
post #16 of 61
So we can just park huge barges on our shores with letting anyone know what's in them in the name of marketing? 9/11: Google forgot already.
post #17 of 61

It's probably just some Google employee's zany 20% idea.

post #18 of 61

Why the need to be secret about a floating datacenter? 


Edited by Richard Getz - 10/29/13 at 3:49pm
post #19 of 61
Someone took "Ship it!" literally.
post #20 of 61
So, Google's Cloud runs on water?
post #21 of 61
It's the Google Borg v1.0 scratch that Beta. They really are branching out these days.
post #22 of 61
Like the cars driving around the country taking pictures, they will have 3D street view for the oceans. So you can look at other boats. Or maybe for cartography below the water for better viewing? That would be cool if I used Google for anything.
post #23 of 61

Floating data centers free from the prying eyes and dictates of our out-of-control government? I'm all for it.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Floating data centers free from the prying eyes and dictates of our out-of-control government? I'm all for it.

If they are seven miles offshore, they will still be within U.S. territorial waters. They will have to go farther out.
post #25 of 61

Let's hope it, too, doesn't fall prey to 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fragmentation.

post #26 of 61

@samplehead

 

each deck is 4 containers wide by 4 containers deep

 

there are 3 decks

 

48 total containers

post #27 of 61
Don't Google "New England erection" hoping to see if the photos have yet surfaced....
post #28 of 61
It's a paddle steamer where 'Mavericks' gamble.

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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #29 of 61
Something tells me the people who planed this have never been to sea for more than a day trip to a nearby island.
post #30 of 61

Running Wild as in I could give a ****

post #31 of 61
Originally Posted by JimH81 View Post
Don't Google "New England erection" hoping to see if the photos have yet surfaced....

 

I thought the horn of Massachusetts was New England’s erection…

post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post


If they are seven miles offshore, they will still be within U.S. territorial waters. They will have to go farther out.

 

If you remember, Larry Page was the one who mused about Google starting their own island government.

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GOA

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post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I support anyone who finds a use for the seventeen gazillion (some sources say up to nineteen gazillion) shipping containers that are sitting disused and rusting in massive mountains around the world. My city has several such mountains! What a waste.

There are actually many uses for these containers. Here are a couple of suggestions:
  1. Storm shelter if buried in the ground. Cheap and quick though I'm not sure how long the will last.
  2. Same as the above but buried in a concrete tomb would make for a nice bomb shelter. This might be very useful as we move close to a full scale nuclear war in the Middle East.
  3. Work shops that are portable. It is interesting, the Army puts a CNC mill, a satellite communications rig, a 3D printer and some plasma / welding equipment in these containers and ships the world wide to support our troops. It is an idea that craftsman could use to build their own shops or at least segregate off the messy stuff to a small container.
  4. They are actually decent sheds.
  5. If you are a Morman, prepper, survivalist, or just concerned about surviving the next natural disaster they are great storage supplements for your K-rations, Ammo, gas, solar panels, generators and what have you. The difference here is that sheds are there for daily use, these would be long term installations.
  6. If you are into ham radio they can make for great radio shacks. Again the potential for portability should not be ignored.
  7. With a little work they can be turned into nice dog kennels. Think teams of dogs here, or one very much loved dog.
  8. Motor cycle garage.

Everything you ever wanted to know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermodal_container
post #34 of 61

News Headline:

 

Google releases 23,040 Inch Nexus Tablet range.

 

Initial supplies reported to be constrained

Smoke me a kipper. I'll be back for breakfast.
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post #35 of 61
Test platform for exploring floating data centers?

The version in those photos doesn’t strike me as a long-term or permanent solution, nor a good year-round platform. Way too top-heavy, for one. The first sign of heavy seas would wreak havoc on that “barge"...

You can’t fit a whole lot of servers into a platform that size, along with employees. Who would want to live/work on that thing anyway??
Edited by tribalogical - 10/29/13 at 6:27pm
post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It's a paddle steamer where 'Mavericks' gamble.

(James Garner joke)

Taking that barge down to Mavericks WOULD be a gamble… have you seen those waves??
post #37 of 61
It's just more google crap that will slide of the wall just like undercooked spaghetti. In this case it will serve the world better as a wonderful artificial reef than whatever nonsense they have conjured up.
post #38 of 61
A giant flood of marketing carp is coming.

So Google built a couple of Arks

Stuart
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tink View Post

Lets see%u2026%u2026 would a giant water heater running 24/7 have any environmental impact on the the surrounding water temperature and marine life...

If they use their patent to use ocean waves as the energy generation source, it's a closed loop, so it's thermal impact would be nearly zero (obviously there no such perfect closed loop).

 

If parked in the bay sucking power off the grid... different story, but then likely below tolerances for a industrified bay.

post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalogical View Post

Test platform for exploring floating data centers?

The version in those photos doesn’t strike me as a long-term or permanent solution, nor a good year-round platform. Way too top-heavy, for one. The first sign of heavy seas would wreak havoc on that “barge"...

You can’t fit a whole lot of servers into a platform that size, along with employees. Who would want to live/work on that thing anyway??

 

err, 48,000 servers:  see -->   https://www.youtube.com/v/zRwPSFpLX8I&hl=en_US

 

Probably a decent server farm.

 

top heavy?   Not if the bilges are filled, and the lower compartments are lead acid batteries and power generation equipment

 

How many employees are needed in a Google data Center... they are almost fully automated to the point of any failure is routed around (it's famously noted that Google data centers they don't fix broken components... as it costs more to to fix than to just wait until most of a rack is dead, then just replace the entire rack)

 

Like an oil rig... you'll  helo in a crew every week...  a Captain (with root access), a couple mates to help keep the thing pointed into the wind, and a cook.

 

My guess is once a data center fails down to around 60%... they just scuttle the boat, and file an insurance claim;-)

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