Google’s mystery barges, which prompted speculation about everything from offshore data centres to floating research labs, may serve a more prosaic role as upscale party venues.
The multi-storey vessels made of stacked shipping containers, one moored in San Francisco Bay, the other at Portland, Maine, are invitation-only luxury showrooms for Google’s Glass and other gadgets, said local San Francisco TV station KPIX.
The structures feature a top-floor “party deck”, complete with “bars, lanais and other comforts”, said the report.
The existence of the barges surfaced last week when technology website CNET theorised that the San Francisco vessel might be a floating data centre that would house banks of computers. Google won patent for a water-based data centre in 2009.
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission executive director Larry Goldzband said his agency has had several meetings with Google officials about the barge recently.
The project is being led by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, said KPIX. Brin heads up the division developing Google Glass, a cross between a mobile computer and eyeglasses that allows users to surf the web and record video.