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RIP, Google Barge, We Hardly Knew Anything About Ye
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald | August 1, 2014
With the Portland Barge down, will the Bay Area's one be far behind?
Well, this certainly does feel like the end of something. Even if what it is, we're still not totally clear about. One of two Google Barges is going to be scrapped. It's not literally connected to today's renewed protests of the Google Bus in the Mission, no, but symbolically it's a big deal.
The news comes courtesy of the Portland Press Herald, which reports that the mystery Barge, docked in Maine, will be sent to the rust heap: "A tugboat towed the barge from Rickers Wharf Marine Facility in Portland and deposited it at Turner’s Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland. Roger Hale, owner of the terminal, said the structure had been purchased by an unnamed "international barging company" and was being prepared to leave Portland for an ocean voyage to an undisclosed location. The containers, though, will be disassembled at Turner’s Island and scrapped."
Though never really officially confirmed, the Barges were widely understood to have been planned as showrooms for Google Glass. As the company told TechCrunch, they were supposed to be "interactive spaces to teach people about Google technology."
Google Glass—despite being kind of nifty technology—has been widely mocked as a symbol of an out-of-touch tech elite. It also seems to provoke bar fights. Is this a sign that the tech company will be pivoting away from the device? Hard to say—probably not. But it does signal a rethinking in the marketing campaign.
The fate of the other Google Barge, which had been docked in the Bay's Treasure Island (we tried to sneak onto it in this story) is unknown, although its docking fees in Stockton, where it currently resides, have been paid up through October.