CNET suspects the facility is a new data center; the site points out Google, long interested in lowering its carbon footprint, was granted a patent in '09 for a "water-based data center" that features crane-removable containers, and which relies on seawater for power and cooling.
However, KPIX 5 reports the facility will be a "floating marketing center" meant to promote Google Glass, which is expected to see a full launch early next year. The station adds construction was halted a few weeks ago due to a lack of permits.
Meanwhile, a USC study indicates the number of locations from which Google serves search results soared over 7x from Oct. '12 to July '13, from less than 200 to 1,400+. Likewise, the number of ISPs used jumped from slightly over 100 to 850+. Some of the growth, which helps lower the time needed to deliver results and ads, stems from using locations already delivering YouTube videos and other Google content.
Both stories shine a light on Google's continued willingness to invest aggressively, and sometimes in unique ways. The Web giant spent $2.29B (15.4% of revenue) on capex in Q3, +43% Q/Q.
Update: SA commenter Brett22 points out Google appears to be building a similar facility off the coast of Portland, ME.