Google’s barge plans come to a close

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Google’s barge plans come to a closeAfter selling an unfinished barge located in Portland, Maine, it appears Google will be leaving its barge ambitions behind.

Secretly constructed in 2013, the two Google Barges were meant to be enormous, mobile demonstration areas where the company could unveil and launch its latest products and projects, as well as host events for VIPs and the public. San Francisco called the project “a floating marketing center, a kind of giant Apple store.”

At least, that was the plan back then.

Neither the barge in Maine nor the one on Stockton, Californi  has opened or even seen any recent activity. This puts a hamper on Google’s dreams of creating a destination retail experience to combat Apple’s celebrated Apple stores.

“It’s unlikely they could (have ever stolen) Apple’s thunder,” said tech analyst Horace Dediu. “When you do technical projects, or have ideas like this, you should have a good taste of what people want, and that’s not something I’ve seen Google succeed with.”

Last October, the barge in San Francisco Bay was crowded with construction workers. In a matter of days, however, the work came to a halt. Eventually the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission grew impatient with Google for not having acquired a construction permit. In February, the agency told Google to get the permit and relocate the barge or pay penalties. Google instead moved the barge to Stockton, California – but even there, the work did not pick up from where it had left off months ago.

The Portland Press Herald reported on Thursday that the Google Barge on the East Coast had been sold to “an international barging company” and that it would eventually be scrapped.

Google spent $40 million on the Portland barge and $35 million on the California barge – but any ambitions the company had to create floating showrooms may already be at an end.

Via [CNET]

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