Giving Google the ability to quickly migrate large amounts of profit to locations
It's fun to charter an accountant
And sail the wide accountancy,
Google may be constructing a floating data center on a large barge in the San Francisco bay. The multistory structure was spotted on a vessel moored off the city's Treasure Island, and some shoe-leather reporting by Cnet suggests the web advertising giant is behind the project. Google patented a design for a floating data …
Portable render farm on an extreme scale would be useful for productions that have to spend time in different parts of the world. Presently quite a few films need satellite links from field bases where the director is back to editing/effects companies to transfer the days recordings (rushes) for post production. However, for dailies you probably wouldn't need something *that* big.
My more immediate though was Google's balloon adventure, those masts on top could be used to create a tent to shield directional antennas from winds?
Here's another kooky idea, Google could buy out St Helena, float a data centre there and pay for the connectivity the island desperately wants. No one on St Helena would give a fig what Google wants to do if it was to bring money/jobs/internet and they are an independent nation under British protection.
There these two registered to By and Large as mention in the article,
An then By and Large also owns this one as well,
Cannot find anymore, but its seem Google has secretly built itself a small fleet. All built to the same spec. If Google has built more they are using different code names or holding companies. One would think Google would launched a prototype version using a ready built vessel.
By and Large have also register, Bal0100, ship number 4
Bal0100 Ship - By and Large Llc - San Francisco, California - Ships
There is no ship number 5 registered so far. An I have tried to find a ship zero, a prototype vessel but so far no luck.
I would hope Google would have added a few more windows to the design if they were meant for Google new corporate headquarters.
"There is no ship number 5 registered so far. An I have tried to find a ship zero, a prototype vessel but so far no luck."
You have to wonder if the "not quite covert" approach is all part of the intention, keeping a bit of mystery to make the world think how clever they are? Had this been fitted in the holds of a ageing bulk carrier it would have been invisible. Likewise, wandering around wearing your Google badge can be a bit of a giveaway.
We are in cyberpunk territory. Has echoes of William Gibson, though it's the Karl Schroeder story "To Hie from Far Celenia" that comes to mind. It describes an ARG that has it's own RW assets, which includes a city of containers that circle the globe on container ships, from which it's denizens commute to work, virtually of course.
Floating data centers will give Google the ability to quickly migrate large amounts of compute resources to locations in urgent need of bit-crunching, or even allow it to float compute clusters around the world to lower latency for info-hungry areas.
I don't whether organically transplanting humanitarian organizations' vocabulary into computing makes a whole lot of sense. Unlike energy, bags of rice and polio vaccinations, heating silicium for the sake of rearranging charges encased in epoxy as quickly as possible can be done independently of where the final beneficiary of such entropy-reversing action resides.
Weel, at least it's "logic bombing for the freeduhms".
Or as a sovereign archipelago nation?
One has to wonder whether the intent is to avoid National Security Letters or any future privacy legislation restricting indiscriminate bulk information gathering? Tax advantages would be just a fringe benefit, totally unintended, of course.
"I wonder if there's any tax benefits?"
Property taxes apply to buildings (or potentially land), and I can't see them being able to levy these on a vessel. Obviously there's port fees, but if you're moored offshore those will be minimal (or perhaps avoidable). There may also be some interesting exemptions from energy efficiency rules or taxes that would apply to a building, and for a data centre could help the financials. And in some areas there's restrictive planning laws that apply to buildings, meaning that the local government can mandate the location, appearance, construction of a bit barn, as well as demanding "planning gains" that are just a tax on the company that evnetually operate the site - typically no similar restrictions apply on floating assets.
A big problem with tax incentives is that they can be changed. A land-based data center is hard to move when the local tax structure changes, while a barge can be moved more easily.
Barges can be built in a single place, assembly-line fashion, with the bulk of the work done in efficient asian yards. Fixed centers must be built in place using local labor.
Based solely on the photo in the article, those barges are just ordinary dumb barges, without their own propulsion. They would need to be towed everywhere and then anchored, moored, berthed or docked in a safe haven. Even if the barges did have dynamic positioning, they would need refuelling and a full time marine crew to handle her, therefore provisions delivered and waste taken away. I for one would NOT like to spend any length of time on a flat hulled barge in International waters off in the Pacific, or anywhere. Jackup rigs and semisubmersibles are much better for that.
My point is that the barges are designed to be transportation vessels that end up in someone's sheltered back yard, and therefore would not remain long in International waters.
Advertising revenue is so early 21st century. While Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, et al, fight over dwindling ad revenues, Google is going to build a huge fleet of floating datacenters, float them to thirsty nations, and use their generated heat to desalinate seawater.
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