google 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.”

google 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

google barge Stories November 8, 2013

More information on that Google barge was revealed today by SFGate, including an artist’s rendering showing that it will be equipped with giant sails.

When completed, the full package is envisioned to be an “unprecedented artistic structure,” sporting a dozen or so gigantic sails, to be moored for a month at a time at sites around the bay […]

“We believe this curious and visually stunning structure will be a welcome addition to the waterfront, an experience unlike any other,” the proposal says …

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

google barge Stories November 6, 2013

Google has finally broken its silence and openly acknowledged its mystery barge project. The barges, which are now anchored in Portland, Maine, and San Francisco, have been a big mystery and have even spawned their very own parody Twitter account. A Google spokesperson provided TechCrunch with a brief quote advising the site that the barges will be used as an “interactive space to teach people about its technology.”

Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. 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. expand full story

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