Google and barges and Glass: Oh my! It is now being reported that the floating behemoth that materialized in San Francisco Bay is a seafaring Google retail store that can be assembled and disassembled anywhere that 40-foot containers can be shipped or trucked. If reports are accurate, the Google retail structures are compelling and luxurious enough to make Apple Store seem stark, sedentary and simplistic in comparison.
KPIX 5 reporters Allen Martin and Ken Bastida have dug up many details concerning Google's floating mystery moored to Treasure Island. An identical barge has also surfaced off the coast of Portland, Maine. Reports were initially mixed as to the purpose of the barges. CNET and others suggested Google could be working on data centers powered by waves and cooled by ocean water, based on a Google patent.
But KPIX 5 reports that the structures are "dazzling showrooms" that have been in the works at the secretive Google X labs as an answer to Apple Store. Citing multiple sources, the network claims that the barges are indeed manifestations of Google Glass executive construction plans, more than a year in the making, that call for three stories of retail space and a fourth floor for VIP hosting events.
The upper party deck features bars, lanais and other comforts to invitation-only clients, according to KPIX 5 sources. Google would be wise to glitz up the retail of Glass. A wearable device so personal that it fits on the face requires an initial fitting by Google staff, and a luxurious showroom or VIP experience can make this adjustment experience appeal to consumers. Google can elevate picking up your Glass from a chore to an event.
With a projected Glass market of $11 billion by 2018, Google will clearly go to great expense to realize the potential of its eyewearable device. That explains why Google has shipped the containers, moored the barge, and leased the immense Hangar 3 on Treasure Island for $80,000 per month--not including an exorbitant security deposit. Of course, the multiple levels of modular retail space would also include Chrome products and other Google goodies, such as the recently acquired Motorola product line.
KPIX 5 reports that the retail project has been delayed in part because the U.S. Coast Guard designated the barge structure a floating vessel. In doing so, authorities have mandated that the four-story bohemoth requires approval by the feds concerning safety features. Reportedly, Google's secrecy about the contents of the containers makes that approval impossible.