Barge Stories November 7, 2014

Second Google barge mystery solved: the reason they were scrapped …

First we had the mystery about why Google was building floating structures on a set of barges based in San Francisco and Portland, before Google finally revealed that they were to become “interactive spaces where people can learn about new technology.”

Then we had the equally mysterious apparent cancellation of the project, with one of the barges sold for scrap and another sitting unused on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The WSJ used Freedom of Information Act requests to get hold of documents which seem to provide an explanation: email correspondence suggests that Google was unable to satisfy the Coast Guard’s fire-safety concerns.

“These vessels will have over 5,000 gallons of fuel on the main deck and a substantial amount of combustible material on board,” warned Robert Gauvin, the Coast Guard’s acting chief of commercial vessel compliance, in a March 27, 2013 email to the contractor, Foss Maritime Co.

Google argued that the barges would have no more than 150 people on board at any one time, despite estimating a total of 1200 visitors a day, but the Coast Guard was unimpressed.

“I am unaware of any measures you plan to use to actually limit the number of passengers,” Mr. Gauvin wrote in the March 27 email about fire safety. He criticized the effort by Google and Foss to seek quick approvals. “While I understand there is a sense of urgency, I am concerned that significant work has already been performed without full consent of the Coast Guard.”

Barge Stories August 1, 2014

Well, that was an anti-climax. After all kinds of speculation about why Google was building floating structures on a set of barges based in San Francisco and Portland, with Google finally revealing in not too much detail that they were to become “interactive spaces where people can learn about new technology,” it turns out that at least one of them is being sold for scrap.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the 250-foot Google barge that has been sitting in Portland Harbour since last October is now being sold and the container building sitting on it will be scrapped …  expand full story

Barge Stories February 21, 2014

Google has confirmed to San Francisco authorities that it plans to move the incomplete Google Barge project to a new location within the next month, reports CNET. It seems the California state government was not so pleased to have Google’s construction project sitting in idle at a pier without the proper permits and offered the company an ultimatum: file the proper papers or move on.

Google chose the latter. Government officials were told last week that Google would be moving the barge to an undisclosed new location at some point within the next thirty days.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Barge Stories February 3, 2014

We’ve heard quite a bit about Google’s mysterious barge projects over the last few months, but it wasn’t until November that the company confirmed their existence. The SF Examiner now reports that Google is facing some regulatory issues in San Francisco and must move the construction site for its barge from its current island in the middle of the Bay to one of the fully permitted construction facilities in the Bay.

The request was made the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which noticed that neither Treasure Island Development Authority nor the city of San Francisco had the correct permits to allow for Google to be constructing the barge at its current location.

“Obviously the bay is a valuable resource to everybody,” Flanders, program director at San Francisco Baykeeper said. “Requiring people and companies large and small to pass all environmental regulations before using the bay is essential.”

Google says it will use these barges as “an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.” The barges will be able to move around and dock in different cities, as well. Check out a video of the tentative design of the barges after the jump:

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Barge Stories December 10, 2013

 

Google’s Barge projects have apparently been put on hold according a new CNET report this morning. The report indicates that Google is definitely planning on completing the project, but at this point it looks to be well into 2014 before it sees the light of day.

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Barge Stories November 1, 2013

The mysterious barge that appeared in San Francisco Bay has been confirmed by multiple sources to be Google’s first foray into retail space, reports CBS.

First rumored to be a data centerCBS first suggested a week ago that it could be the retail space we’ve been predicting since February, and is now stating this as fact – though suggesting it may be aimed at an exclusive clientele.

Google’s mysterious floating barge on San Francisco Bay will feature luxury showrooms and a party deck for the tech giant to market Google Glass and other gadgets to invitation-only clients, multiple sources told KPIX 5.

It’s not clear whether it’s just the upper entertainment deck that is reserved for VIP guests or the whole structure, but it appears the structure isn’t fixed: it’s a giant Transformer …  expand full story

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