Science and Tech


Google Clarifies: Mystery Barges Are 'Learning Centers'

Google says its secretive aquatic constructions are to be interactive spaces to teach people about new technology.
Posted at 9:51 AM, Nov 07, 2013

Google has put an end to the tech world's gleeful speculation — those barge projects are more floating classroom than floating datacenter or floating luxury showroom.

A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch "Although it's still early days and things may change, we're exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology."

Previous reports had cited insiders who said at least one of the four barges identified so far would be a floating high-end Google showroom, replete with a sumptuous party deck for VIP guests.

"Sources tell us it's Google's multi-million dollar response to Apple's highly successful Apple Store concept, but with an invitation-only requirement." (Via KPIX)

And CNET's initial investigation had pegged the boats as modular, mobile datacenters that would take advantage of patents Google holds for outfitting just such a structure.

But it turns out CNET had the wrong lease paperwork. The Los Angeles Times found the correct paperwork from last year, which detailed a lease for "fabrication of a special event structure and art exhibit only and for no other purpose."

Which might match up with Google's explanation. It's striking some as odd that Google would go to all this construction trouble and secrecy when its ultimate plans are apparently subject to change. (Via Bloomberg)

And CNET suspects Google’s explanation is just the latest effort to get the nosy media types to leave it alone.

"Wait a minute. We're trying to change the world here and some journalist actually has the gall to creep down toward open public waters and wonder what we're doing? We're making your life better, that's what, pal. Now float off."

Google is still mum on when its project will be finished, or where the barges will end up when construction is complete.