Google's Mysterious Floating Barges: Glass Stores or Data Centers?
Two huge barges, one in the San Francisco Bay and another in Maine's Portland Harbor, are leading to much speculation among observers. Google is not commenting.Google has quietly and mysteriously placed two tall, large floating barges on opposite ends of the United States, one in San Francisco Bay and the other in Maine's Portland Harbor, but so far the company isn't saying what the barges contain. That, of course, has caused a flurry of attention and guesswork by pundits, news reporters and local officials, according to reports from multiple sources around the country. Heading the list of possible uses for the large floating platforms is the idea of floating, attention-gaining Google Glass stores, while others are speculating that the barges are to be used for remote data centers that could be floated wherever they are needed. Of course, why stop there? Perhaps Google is adding new employee benefits such as floating recreational fishing piers for workers so they can relax during their breaks, or floating mausoleums just in time for frightening bicoastal employee Halloween parties. In San Francisco, however, KPIX TV 5 is reporting that the four-story tall collection of shipping containers is being created as a "floating marketing center, a kind of giant Apple store … for Google Glass," according to an Oct. 25 story. That report is in contrast to other theories about Google's plans, including that the barges are homes for data centers. KPIX reported that "Google hopes to tow the completed structure from [the former Navy base at] Treasure Island across the Bay to San Francisco's Fort Mason, where it would be anchored and open to the public."
In the meantime, though, work has stopped on that plan because it turned out that Google didn't have a needed permit to build and float such a facility, according to the TV station. "Google has spent millions on this," a source close to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission told KPIX. "But they can't park this barge on the waterfront without a permit, and they don't have one."