The recent appearance of a mysterious barge moored to San Francisco's Treasure Island with a large structure built on top of it is raising some obvious questions, and early indications are that Google — no stranger to crazy projects — is involved. CNET and San Francisco CBS station KPIX independently reported on Friday that Google was responsible for the barge; CNET had speculated that the structure might be a floating data center, but KPIX says it has learned that the company is actually "a floating marketing center" for promoting Google Glass. Though it's still not widely commercially available, Glass (or an improved version of it) is expected to eventually go on sale to the general public, likely for less than the $1,500 it has asked for the first batch of units.

All is not going smoothly, though: KPIX reports that Google doesn't have the necessary permits to build a floating shrine to wearable computing, and obtaining the permit is anything but a guarantee. In the meantime, work on the facility has apparently been halted. The director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission notes that a permit would require Google to demonstrate that whatever it's building couldn't instead be built on land; to be fair, considering the scarcity of San Francisco real estate, it may have a case.