google-barge

Google is no stranger to creating mysterious projects that show the company’s willingness to try new ideas. Some of these projects end up as commercial endeavors, and some do not.

So what’s the latest mystery project from Google? Apparently, it’s the creation of barges made from shipping containers.

So far two of these barges have shown up, one in San Francisco Bay and the other in Portland, Maine. Both barges are made by the company By and Large, which is said to be secretly owned by Google.

The real mystery is the purpose of these barges. When the story first broke over the weekend, most reports believed that these barges could end up being floating data centers that could protect data in the event of a natural disaster by moving to a safer location. Now several reports and anonymous sources are coming forward with claims that the barges are really part of a project to create floating Google Glass marketing centers.

It is worth mentioning that Google has reportedly stopped work on whatever they are building in San Francisco Bay due to the inability to get their hands on a required permit. Currently no word on the Portland barge’s status, though.

Does a floating Glass store make any sense?

The idea of a floating data center certainly doesn’t sound all that crazy, but a floating Glass store? Sure, it would allow Google to move these stores to different cities by water, but setting up temporary shops in malls or other retail locations seems like an easier idea. Of course it could also be about doing something big that would create a lot of hype.


A floating Google Glass store would be awesome, we aren’t doubting that, but does the barge’s design make sense for that kind of use? CNET set out to answer that question. Talking to Joel Egan – an expert in the custom cargo container business – the answer seems to be no.

[quote qtext=”To have a store you’d need big open spaces, and a building made from the ‘little cubbies’ that are inside shipping containers doesn’t seem practical.” qperson=”Joel Egan” qsource=”Principal at Cargotecture” qposition=”center”]

Besides the impractical design, you’d also need a lot exits for such a floating store to work, which is something the Google barge doesn’t seem to offer. Considering the design of these barges and the fact Google already has a patent for a floating data center, we’d say that the data center idea makes much more sense.

Then again, this is Google and they are certainly known for thinking outside the box.

What do you think, does the idea of a floating Google Glass store make any sense, or is this more than likely nothing more than a unique new data center setup?

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