Google barge: Alas, we hardly knew you

Whatever happened to the Google barge, you ask?  Well, one of them – the one that Google planned to use as a floating tech showroom in San Francisco Bay – is still sitting idle at the port of Stockton, CA.  But its identical twin, which has been moored on the East Coast, is apparently set to be scrapped.

The Press Herald of Portland, ME, reports that the massive, 250-foot barge has been sold to an unnamed shipping company and the four-story structure that sits on the floating platform will be dismantled. That’s the structure that looks like it was built from 63 large metal shipping containers, with a series of antennae on top.

Google has always tried to keep its plans for the barges hush-hush, and it didn’t respond to a request for comment Friday. The Press Herald got its information from harbor officials in Portland.

Now the fate of the California barge is unknown. Port of Stockton executive director Richard Aschieris told us Friday that he hasn’t heard anything from Google and there’s been no sign of any work on the floating structure.

“It just sits there like it did the day it arrived,” he said. Google moved the barge to Stockton in March, when Google moved the barge from San Francisco Bay after it ran into problems getting construction and permit approvals from the U.S. Coast Guard and a state environmental agency.

While Google has only said it planned for the barge to be “an interactive space where people can learn about new technology,” it was rumored to be a showroom for cutting-edge Google projects including Glass, the wearable computer headset.

However, Google’s plans to sell Glass on a mass scale also appear to be delayed. The gadget has caught on with enthusiasts and a wide range of professionals, from surgeons to opera singers. But some people have had a negative reaction to the awkward-looking device.

(A Stockton woman checks out the Google barge in March, in this photo by Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group) 

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (350 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.