Several articles surfaced this week revealing the existence two unique but similar barges under construction in San Francisco and Portland, ME. Both postings provide various clues and indications that Google is behind whatever it is these barges are engaged in or will be engaged in. I would venture to guess these may be more experimental, as the barges and the structures still seem somewhat limited compared to some of the massive data centers already in existence on land, or perhaps they are destined for remote undeveloped areas of the world. It will be interesting to see how floating data centers cope with normal marine issues like drydocking, fuel transfers, and other repairs.
The media seems fairly certain these are linked to Google, although I am not seeing the direct links other than a phone number that led to an old Google extension. At first glance their appearance is more of an accommodation barge or even some type of prison or jail due to the minimal windows. Floating prisons are not uncommon in the U.S; in fact New York has several, including an 800 bed floating jail. The barges pictured also do not seem to have any significant signs of combustion engines, which means the barges are likely to be utilizing power from something else, shoreside or afloat.
For the San Francisco barge(s) (BAL 0010 & BAL 0001) – read more here