Sources have revealed the secret behind the mystery Google barges that have appeared on both coasts (Portland, Maine; and San Francisco, Calif.). According to the CBS News report, issued on Thursday, the barges will be marketing devices.
The four-story barge houses three floors which are designed to serve as “dazzling showrooms.” The upper deck is a so-called “party deck” that will feature bars and other comforts for Google clients on an invitation-only basis.
The brainchild of Google X, the secret Google lab, the idea has been in planning for over a year. In part, the project has been delayed because the U.S. Coast Guard labeled the building, is constructed of interchangeable 40-foot shipping containers that can be assembled and disassembled at will, a “floating vessel” that requires federally approved safety features.
Coast Guard Lt. Anna Dixon said, in a statement released Thursday afternoon,
Coast Guard personnel have been onboard to conduct routine inspections and ensure compliance with…regulations.
Regardless of the company or entity involved, the Coast Guard has an obligation to protect sensitive proprietary information, as a company’s competitive posture and business interests depend on it.
Though the Coast Guard has labeled it a floating vessel, the idea is that the containers can be shipped anywhere in the world and assembled there. The source said that Google could, for example, send the building to a ski resort one day and then have it shipped to a beach a few days later.
Google has, thus far, had no comment. However, a source said that Google senior executives were worried that media covering the September opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge might notice the barge docked at nearby Treasure Island and begin asking questions. In fact, the source said that at least one Bay Area reporter covering the bridge opening made inquiries about the barge, but never wrote a related story.