Google Goes Water and Sails To Impress Traders and Consumers

Google floating data center

Apple has over 400 retail brick and mortar stores in 13 countries to go along with their on-line store and have annual sales figures in the $16 Billion dollar range. With numbers like those, it is no surprise to see other formally Internet only companies looking to break ground at a shopping mall near you. Not one to be left out in the cold is Google – the search engine, android marketing, do everything it can to make a dollar company that is already floating down the coasts of the US.

News broke a few weeks back about some odd looking barges floating in San Francisco Bay with a matching behemoth floating near Portland. The Internet was abuzz with rumors of floating NSA surveillance operations but when the barges were tracked back to Google speculation got even crazier. Are they going to save all the financial transactions made from a trading computer? Tin foil hats were flying as one news report after another tried to guess why Google was floating “massive data collection centers” off America’s coast lines. Oddly, no one bothered to call Google to ask what they were until a week ago.

trading computers google barge

It turns out that after all the wild innuendo the floating cargo vessels are not part of a vast conspiracy but are a bit more mundane – floating show rooms. Show rooms for trading computers? Well – no. Google says they intend to use them as an “interactive space where people can discover new technologies”. The barges will sail from one port to another after being moored for a month to allow upwards of 1,000 people a day to visit the technology centers. While not as permanent as an Apple Store it has garnered enough press to get Google working on other floating platforms to show off their latest gadgets and technologies.

The architects of the project have been secretive but some documentation has been leaking to the press. Upon completion, the barges will look like more of a floating art display than your typical retail store. The project is currently behind schedule but aims to increase visitor traffic to waterfront locations that may have seen some economic declines in recent years. Google is even reportedly building new docking sites at several west coast ports to allow the 4-story tall vessel to safely harbor. To help with overcrowding and likely to gain approval from local authorities Google intends to make the visits available by invitation only.

Local planning officials have not yet made any approvals for leases or permits but talks are underway with the National Parks service and the San Francisco Bay port authority. It is a start – but only time will tell if the grand plans for a floating mini tech center will pay any dividends. Besides Google has not even made clear what if any products it intends to sell or display besides their name in lights.

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