What is Google Building Out in San Francisco Bay?

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - What exactly is it that Google is building in San Francisco Bay?

The mayor says he doesn't know what it is. Police say it's not their jurisdiction. And government inspectors are sworn to secrecy.

Google is managing to conceal the purpose of the four-story structure that's going up in the heart of the bay, by constructing it on docked barges instead of on land -- where building permits and public plans would be required.

The actions of the Internet giant appear to be legal. But the mystery surrounding the bulky floating building -- and a similar one near Portland, Maine -- is generating rumors and worries.

The head of the environmental group Baykeeper says Google will have to disclose at some point what it's doing. Deb Self says it will be "very sad" if it's a project that isn't allowed there.

There are rumors that it might be a store, or a data center powered by wave action -- for which Google has a patent.

But Self says it would be "unacceptable" for the bay to be used as a shopping mall. And environmentalists warn that wave-cooled data centers might warm the sea and harm marine life.