Chris Childers, a Treasure Island local, told me that although he had never seen the word "Google" anywhere in or around Hangar 3, people have been talking about Google being in the giant building, and working on the barge, for months.
In fact, Childers said, the tenant had taken over the Hangar 3 parking lot last December, and for months had very tight security around it. "I heard it was a Google project," Childers said. He also recalled the long security fence around the Hangar 3 property that is visible in Google satellite imagery, as did an artist who works close to Hangar 3.
Childers told me that a woman at a Treasure Island bus stop that he suspected was a Google employee had told him, about what was going on inside Hangar 3 and on the barge, "I can't tell you [what the project is, but you'll see it soon enough, and it'll be really cool." He also said that the woman told him that the massive project being built on the barge had likely been built piecemeal inside Hangar 3 and that "'I can't believe we built it all inside'" Hangar 3.
Larry and Sergey, and anyone else who might have knowledge of this project, we'd love to hear the full story.
Update (Sunday, 5:45 p.m. PT): This story now more accurately represents comments made by Stanford researcher Jonathan Koomey.