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Glass Ahoy!

BY Jonathan Strickland / POSTED November 1, 2013
Hammerbrook - City can this really be true?
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What's going on in San Francisco Bay? | iStock/Thinkstock What’s going on in San Francisco Bay? | iStock/Thinkstock

Floating in the San Francisco Bay is a mysterious barge packed with containers, making it four stories tall. A second barge, this one off the coast of Maine, is equally as mysterious. Rumor has it they belong to Google. So what’s the search engine giant want with enormous barges in the first place?

Speculation currently centers on a possible showcase for Google Glass. Unnamed sources have reportedly spilled the beans, claiming that it’s a modular building that Google can take apart and reassemble in different parts of the world while courting new Glass customers. Considering that the eyewear goes for a premium price — $1,500 a pop — I suppose that’s possible.

If it turns out the speculation is correct, I won’t necessarily be brokenhearted. But I will be a little disappointed. Not because I already own a pair of Google Glass but because I was hoping this would be the first floating data center.

You see, Google holds a patent on such a concept. It would house hundreds of servers and take advantage of its surroundings by using water from the ocean to help keep the systems cool. Heat is bad news to computers and it can be expensive to cool a huge data center to operational levels.

As our world gets more technologically complicated, we have a greater need for more data and computer power. Sticking to traditional methods will only get us so far — a floating data center could be an evolutionary leap from an infrastructure standpoint. That’s why I think it’d be more exciting if the barges turned out to be data centers than floating retail stores filled with luxury items.

Either way, the mystery has people speculating wildly. We’ll keep an eye on things and see how they play out.

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