Google barge heads for the scrap yard

“The so-called Google barge, once envisioned as a floating showroom for Google Glass and other high-tech gadgets, is heading for a less glamorous future now that the structure on top of it is destined for the scrap yard,” Tom Bell reports for The Protland Press Herald. “It’s a pitiful end for a great mystery that generated national attention when the strange-looking barge was towed into Portland Harbor last October.”

“The barge carries 63 shipping containers arranged to create a four-story building. The structure was assembled in New London, Connecticut, and the barge was towed to Portland, where Cianbro Corp. was scheduled to do interior work on it, including the installation of undisclosed technology equipment,” Bell reports. “Cianbro has never disclosed the identity of the barge’s owner or its purpose. A similar mystery barge appeared on the waterfront in San Francisco last year. After some digging by reporters on both coasts, Google admitted that it had commissioned the barges to serve as ‘an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.'”

“When finished, the barge in Portland was to be towed to New York City and opened for an invitation-only crowd of hip and affluent urbanites. Never mind,” Bell reports. “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… Still, the city made out financially, collecting $400,000 in property taxes on the barge while it sat in the harbor.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Our Lady of Transitory Endeavor strikes again:

Google Reader, Google Gears, Google Buzz, Google Pack, Google One Pass, Google Lively, Google Listen, Google Barge…

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


  1. No, it was an NSA fiber cable tap. Now since the disclosures they had to scrap the whole project. The containers would have housed equipment and staff to work on the collected data, in isolation.


  2. This is why google will never be as successful as they want to be.

    Some half baked idea that should never have even been approved in the first place that cost $100s millions.

  3. And the other barge sits abandoned, tied to a deserted pier on a slough in the backwaters of the San Joaquin River in bankrupt Stockton, CA (Yes, THAT Stockton) 90 miles east of San Francisco.

  4. Why would they CHOOSE to build it out of shipping container boxes? It must have cost a fortune to cut openings (internal and external) in the thick steel. The whole structure (which is meant to be mobile) must weigh “a ton” (a lot more than). It’s not very seaworthy when being moved; certainly not “ocean-going.” Wireless signal transparency must be terrible inside a metal cage.

    Google should have just purchased a ship, like an aging (smaller) cruise ship, refurbished it as a “floating showroom for Google Glass and other high-tech gadgets,” and sailed it (with fanfare) into various ports. That would actually be kind of cool…

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