If it sounds like something out of "Fringe" or "The X-Files," you're not far off. A set of what are being called "mystery barges" have appeared on both coasts of the U.S., with folks attributing them (as reported on Wednesday by The Verge) to some mystery project at Google.
There is one barge docked at San Francisco's Treasure Island. It is reportedly planned to host either a Google data center or a "floating marketing center" for the upcoming Google Glass retail launch. Tuesday was when folks noticed a similar barge docked outside Portland, Maine. Both barges are four-stories tall.
An image of the new barge being towed by Portland Tugboat LLC was posted to the firm's Facebook page, and appears above.
The sense of mystery is palpable. The barge in Portland is registered as BAL 0011, and the barge docked at Treasure Island is registered as BAL 0010. The BAL stands for By and Large, LLC, which is the company the barges are registered to. However, no telephone number has been found for the company, and Delaware address given for it doesn't appear to hold an HQ.
A Portland, Maine Coast Guard station spokesman said:
We know what's inside. We know it's not a threat to public safety here in Portland. It's following all regulations.
They know what's inside, but they won't confirm or deny the rumors rampant on the Internet? Come on, Coast Guard, we're sure Gizmodo has the cash to get you to loosen your lips.
The data center idea seems to hold water (pun intended), although gadget fans would love a floating Google Glass shop. Google received a patent for a floating data center way back in 2009. The plan included the obvious use of ocean water to cool the systems and wave motion to help power it.