The San Francisco Google Barge Mystery One Step Closer to Being Solved
One media outlet ran a headline (that it later changed) that read, “mystery solved.”
That’s might be a bit premature, but it is safe to say that the details behind that mystery barge moored in San Francisco Bay is almost certainly a Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) project.
Once the rumor-mill-reporters go to work to uncover the truth, it’s hard to keep anything a secret and that’s what happened in this case. Benzinga reported earlier that it was either a retail outlet or a massive data center. The retail outlet theory seemed less believable than a data center but a retail store is what it looks to be.
A San Francisco CBS affiliate is reporting that it’s likely a lavish retail store made from shipping containers. It will feature three stories of “dazzling showrooms” with high-end lighting and at the top, a party deck complete with bars, lanais, and other features meant to cater to Google’s deep-pocketed customers. (Kind of like a luxury box at a stadium.)
Equally impressive, the structure is meant to be mobile. Each of the 40-foot shipping container breaks down for easy transport by boat, rail, plane or truck. These luxury stores are as easy to move as any traveling stage show allowing them to appear in any city, major events, or put in storage when they aren’t needed.
The project is reportedly the brainchild of the Google X lab, the secretive facility near its corporate headquarters directed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
The project has not been without difficulty. Because the Coast Guard labeled it a “floating vessel” which requires federally approved safety measures.
“Coast Guard personnel have been onboard to conduct routine inspections and ensure compliance with…regulations,” Coast Guard Lt. Anna Dixon said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
Of course, this is all rumor and Google has no comment on it but if it’s true, this could be a big win for Google and its X Lab. Finding a way to change the retail experience just as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) did when it opened its own stores is not just innovative behind the scenes but in the public eye as well—something Google has struggled to do in recent years.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker was long Apple.
© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.