2. Google's mystery barge
In October, we were introduced to the Google mystery barge.
CNET reported that Google was almost certainly behind a secret barge that was being constructed in plain sight off of Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.
Although it couldn't confirm that Google had direct ties to the floating construction project, CNET uncovered enough clues that eventually led Google to admit that it was behind it.
Initial speculation said the barge could be anything from a floating data center to a massive party boat for the giant tech company. Google didn't help stem the speculation by later saying that the barge would contain an "interactive space where people can learn about new technology."
Since then, Google has run into legal problems and may not have the right permits to finish building the barge in the bay. The mystery of the barge captured us in 2013, but this story will continue to play out next year.
1. Snowden exposes the NSA
There was no bigger story in Silicon Valley or in Washington than Edward Snowden's exposure of the National Security Agency's vast surveillance program.
In June, the Guardian and the Washington Post began publishing reports about classified documents that had been leaked to them by Snowden, a former NSA contractor who had also been a Central Intelligence Agency employee.
Among the early revelations was an NSA program called PRISM in which the agency was able to access the servers of top tech companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and others to gather information about their users. Snowden has leaked more documents to other publications, leading to more disclosures of NSA's surveillance activities.
The leaks prompted congressional hearings into the activities of the nation's spy agency and fueled debate over just how much privacy people give up when using social networks and Internet services.
Snowden is now in Russia, where he is staying under temporary asylum.