July 21st, 2015
Remember the strange Google-owned barge parked just off Treasure Island, matched by a counterpart in Portland, Maine? The one CNET uncovered last Friday, and suggested might be Google’s patented floating data center? The mystery that made it as far as a Daily Show segment?
Well, San Francisco TV station KPIX says it’s solved the case. The barges contain Google’s answer to Apple stores, only much more exclusive — and run by the company’s secret projects division.
KPIX’s first report over the weekend suggested the barge might house a store for Google Glass. But now the station says it has uncovered more sources, and more detail. Google X, the Sergey Brin-run skunkworks charged with investigating out-there products from balloon wifi to space elevators, is in charge of the barge.
It seems Google was keeping mum because the invite list to this particular store is apparently about as exclusive as they get. The whole top floor will be a party deck, KPIX says. Below it: three floors of “dazzling showrooms.”
So why is it in converted shipping containers on a barge? To enhance the exclusivity, the sources say, and for easy disassembly and reassembly — it could go to Lake Tahoe as easily as the Hamptons, especially with one on each coast.
Google, of course, is a company that launched Gmail with an invite-only program — and introduced Google Glass the same way. Having a showroom with a velvet rope, even a watery one, will ensure interest from those on the outside looking in will. But with Google X on the case, the curiosity factor increases by a factor of — well, let’s say a googol.
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