Google’s released details about their new floating barges have resulted in more questions than answers. Google has described their barge as being an “interactive space where people can learn about new technology.” However, some local authorities suspect that the barge may be intended to be a retail store on a boat. In San Francisco, it’s up to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission to decide whether Google’s description is just an artistic cover-up for a big, floating Google store for dispensing Google Glass to consumers.
Google has notified the commission of continued construction three times in the past six weeks, but has neglected to provide any details relating to their intentions. According to documents Google submitted to the Port of San Francisco, the company promoted the mystery barges as “a curious and visually stunning” exhibition center with sails “reminiscent of fish fins.” However, each of the three barges built by the Turner Construction Co. at Treasure Island, Calif. for Google is intended to be a “floating retail store,” according to a confidential budget report obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The barges are believed to be designed to sell Google Glass, set to publicly launch next year, as well as any other technology the company intends to sell to consumers. Google’s unwillingness to reveal the barges as retail spaces could be because of the reluctance of authorities to issues permits to moor a barge for any length of time. Larry Goldzband of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission said, “A floating retail store that is not a bay-oriented enterprise would probably make a lot of jaws drop at a commission meeting.”
The barges, once approved, will be docked in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Google intends to move the vessels around to various ports in San Francisco Bay, mainly due to a state law that discourages putting new structures on the bay for an extended period of time. The barge would stay no more than a month in each location. This fall, a Google attorney complained in an email to San Francisco officials that negotiations with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission “seem to be going at a glacial speed.” The commission has said that it won’t issue any permits until Google volunteers more information about its intentions with the barges.