Last year when locals in New London, Connecticut, spotted a giant, futuristic flotilla being built off their coastline, they began to unravel one of the weirdest mysteries in modern tech times. Google, it turned out, was building its own barge, which it planned to turn into a massive floating showroom for Google Glass and other technologies. There were other Google barges, too, it turned out — including one parked at San Francisco’s Treasure Island, which planning documents indicated would have sails that were "reminiscent of fish fins."
I, for one, was psyched about the Google barges. (What’s the point of building a giant tech conglomerate if you can’t have your own private dork-navy?) But now, sadly, the dream seems to be getting deferred.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the first Google barge — which was towed to Portland, Maine, after being built in New London — is no more:
On Wednesday, a tugboat towed the barge from Rickers Wharf Marine Facility in Portland and deposited it at Turner’s Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland. Roger Hale, owner of the terminal, said the structure had been purchased by an unnamed “international barging company” and was being prepared to leave Portland for an ocean voyage to an undisclosed location.
The containers, though, will be disassembled at Turner’s Island and scrapped, said Lance Hanna, deputy harbor master for Portland Harbor.
Why did Google abandon its barge? A few possibilities:
- Spent nautical budget on cardboard headsets instead.
- Barge’s fonts weren’t quite right.
- Mark Zuckerberg paid off the Coast Guard.
- Sergey Brin’s true motive for green-lighting the barge — floating Segway polo tournaments — didn’t fly with the board.
- Google Glass marketing team was too busy selling to opera singers.
Whatever the cause of Google’s about-face, the dream of an armada of futuristic, Glasshole-filled barges may soon get deep-sixed. According to CNET, the other Google barges are still sitting "idle and unfinished" in locales like Stockton, California, and may soon be sold off for scrap just like the Maine one.
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