Is Google building a Google Glass retail store that floats in the San Francisco Bay?


Well, isn’t this quite the interesting story to come off of afternoon lunch to? According to several reports, Google could be the culprit behind a secret project being worked on sitting on a barge inside the San Francisco Bay. Specifically, it’s docked inside Clipper’s Cove, a pocket of sea sitting right inside former US Navy Base Treasure Island.


According to CNN, a four-story structure made of shipping containers is acting as a hangar for Google to work on some sort of project, but what could this project be? One theory is that it’s another addition to the many data centers Google already controls.

Data centers on top of water are a thing, apparently, thanks to the natural cooling properties of water, and the ability to use water to facilitate renewable energy. Google even has a patent for something like that.

That’s a decent guess, but some people are saying that’s bologna. Google’s being more secretive than usual about this one, leading some to believe the company is doing the unthinkable — they’re possibly building a Google Glass retail store. That much was reported by CNN affiliate KPIX, with the station saying Google wants to eventually move the barge to the shores of San Francisco and open the store up to the general public.

As awesome as all of that sounds, there’s only one problem with that — Google supposedly stopped work on the barge three weeks ago. This could mean a couple of different things:

  • The structure — whatever it is — is finished.
  • Google’s just taking a break.

Sources say it’s the former, though, and that the reason Google has yet to commence plans with docking at the San Francisco Bay is because they don’t yet have a permit to do such a thing. It’s a pretty outrageous prediction, but Google is known to shake things up every once in a while.


Building such a crazy retail store to sell Google Glass units would be the ultimate move to generate consumer interest — who wouldn ‘t want to go into a store built on water just because it’s built on water? I know I would.

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this story as the weeks progress, though if this mystery barge really is a Google Glass retail store it might be a while before any leg is shaken (as the glasses aren’t expected to launch until sometime early next year).

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Most likely a floating Data Center. Someone posted an article about a Maine company building this structure a few years ago.

    1. How would they get multi Gbit connections to data center out at sea?

      1. Fairly easy… There’s underground fiber lines they can use.

        1. And they just splice it? Sounds easier said than done. I used to work for ATT and now work with consolidating corporate data centers – another thing typically required by major DCs is at least two carriers, doesn’t sound realistic at sea.

  2. “One project that would be good for Maine, but not actually in Maine:
    In 2009, the search engine giant Google received a patent for a proposed
    floating data center that uses the ocean to provide power and cooling.

    According to Google’s patent application, a fleet of data centers would float 3
    to 7 miles offshore in water 165 to 230 feet deep. They would use ocean
    water for cooling and wave-energy machines to create electricity.

    Anchored off the coast of Maine, Google wouldn’t have to buy any land or pay property taxes.

    Google could not be reached late Tuesday to discuss that theory.”

  3. there’s a similar barge in Portland, ME, same secrecy, same companies/contractors involved. floating GG store? i doubt it. such secrecy for a google project is unusual.

    my hunch it’s a floating data center – for taping into undersea cables in international waters and outside us laws.

    1. That’s not international waters.

      1. it’s a barge – tow it further out – you’ll get there. or how about this – a floating pirate bay in international waters! argh!

  4. Why would you put a data center in the middle of an ocean. What happens when it sinks into the water?

  5. Data centers typically have at least two different carriers providing over 1Gbit for redundancy. Would be difficult to do that out in sea or if even docked.

    Data centers in massive man made caves are now a new trend. No weather threats, a natural fortress and naturally cool year round.


    1. Underwater fiber lines have been in use since the 1960’s. Surely you’ve heard about this? A floating data center can have a few fiber lines with ease.

      1. Yes of course, I’m in telcom and DC industry. But you don’t just easily splice in middle of ocean and string up to surface. DCs also usually require multiple carriers. The logistics are more complicated than it may appear, but not that its impossible.

        1. You work in the industry? Nice….
          I feel that if people can maintain fiber across the Atlantic ocean (the one that has major Hurricanes every 3 years) then they can easily drop fiber in the SF bay, with it’s tame waters :P

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