Google: Mystery barge will house ‘interactive space’

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Google has finally broken its silence on the mysterious structure atop a barge floating in the San Francisco Bay.

“Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above,” the company said in a statement e-mailed Wednesday to CNN and other news outlets.

“Although it’s still early days and things may change, we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology,” the statement continued.

The barge, docked at a pier on Treasure Island, houses a four-story structure made from shipping containers. Speculation about its purpose has been swirling since discovery of the vessel — and of three similar barges across the country — first made headlines early last week.

Google’s brief statement is consistent with a report last week by CNN affiliate KPIX-TV in San Francisco, which said the mystery barge would house a floating showroom for the company’s Google Glass connected eyewear and other products. KPIX reported the barge structure will become one of a small fleet of luxury event spaces, complete with party decks, designed to be disassembled and transported via barge or train to other locations.

The barges are an effort by Google to upstage rival Apple’s stylized retail stores, a source told KPIX.

Until now, Google had declined to comment on the reports, contributing to an aura of secrecy that has cloaked the entire saga.

The mystery barge has inspired jokes and at least one Twitter parody account, @GoogleBarge, which has more than 5,500 followers. A tweet from the account Tuesday said. “No one raised an eyebrow when Howard Hughes built my ancestor back in 1973. It was another media frenzy out here today. Sheesh!”

Google Glass, worn like regular glasses, has a small high-res display above the user’s right eye and lets wearers use voice commands to shoot photos or videos and access e-mail, text messaging and other features.

By Brandon Griggs

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