Remember those mysterious floating barges that Google has off the coast of Maine and California? Reports began surfacing last month that speculated about what how the barges were going to be used. Are they floating, movable data centers? Are they going to be used as retail space? We even heard that they might be super exclusive, invite-only party boats. We've gotten a little bit of clarification today, via a Google spokesperson talking to TechCrunch:
Google Barge ... A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it's still early days and things may change, we're exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.
This doesn't exactly answer all of our questions, but it does clear up a few things. We don't know precisely what "interactive space" means. It could be anything from a hands-on demo bar to a full-fledged holodeck type experience. You never know with Google. But we now know that the barges are not floating data centers and they probably won't be Google retail stores. The rumor we heard about the barges being used to demo Google Glass and other Google X secret projects is probably close to the truth.
So far, four barges have been uncovered. They are made of shipping containers stacked on top of each other. Google has a history of using shipping containers in its data centers, so that's how that rumor started. But having a location that is easily movable to demo Glass and other products makes a lot of sense. Google Glass is the type of product that most consumers will want to try out before they purchase. The barges seem to be designed to be easily portable. Google could float the barges anywhere in the world and then easily truck the shipping containers inland to reach a larger audience. This whole barge project is supposedly coming from the Google X labs that are headed up by Sergey Brin.
What do you think Google is actually going to do with these barges?