Google's mysterious barge, which has been the center of speculation and debates, may get torpedoed by local authorities.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (SBCDC) has started a formal investigation into the construction of the Google barge, which is docked on an island in the bay.
Per Larry Goldzband, the executive director of the agency, the investigation began last week and will delve into whether Google possesses the permits that are required to build the barge, as well as whether the owners of the Treasure Island pier, where the vessel is moored, have the necessary permits.
"We want to make sure that the permits that are used by the owners of the pier actually allowed for construction to happen," said Goldzband.
The Google barge is made of steel shipping containers and is four-stories high.
Earlier in November, Google lifted the veil from the mystery surrounding the barge, which was initially spotted floating in San Francisco bay. Speculations were rife that the barge was intended to host parties or was a secret data center. However, Google clarified that the barge was to be an exhibition center.
"Google Barge ... A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it's still early days and things may change, we're exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology," said Google at the time.
The agency, however, is not concerned with how Google will eventually use the structure but want to be assured that the proper permits are in place that allow for its construction on Treasure Island.
Goldzband described the commission's efforts "a preliminary and formal enforcement investigation."
Google is already making changes to the barge's design, courtesy of a request by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to which such vessels are required to adhere to certain environmental and safety requirements.
In the event Google does not comply with the commission's requirements, the agency has the power to levy fines and can also issue "cease-and-desist" orders.