back to article Google's MYSTERY barges floating off US shores: The TRUTH

Google has shed more light on just what it plans to do with a pair of floating barges off either coast of the US. The advertising giant told The Register that its two vessels, officially known as Google Barges, will in fact be designed to serve as nautical showrooms for the company's latest and greatest products. "A floating …


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  1. Don Jefe

    Christ, Google sucks at naming things: Google Glass, Google Mail, Google+, Google Earth... It's like Spaceballs marketing over there.

    Retail Battlebarge or Ships of Uncertainty, Aquatic Dominance Platform, anything but barge, there all by itself.

    El Reg should do a naming contest to help Google out, or at least make it more interesting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And then they will spring the surprise, data centres for third world countries designed to be cooled with river/ sea water.......

      Showrooms? Who do they think they are kidding!

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Simple... it "Floating Point".

    3. Sealand


    4. Pat Volk

      They need to come up with a catchier name to slap it on everything.... How about Virgin?

  2. Steven Raith


    I was hoping for either a working nuclear fusion reactor, or a collection of lost pirate treasure.

  3. chris lively

    I'm trying to figure out how that statement ends any speculation. More to the point, how exactly does being on a "barge" offer any new way to explore strange new technology that couldn't be done over a webinar?

    No, contrary to he articles title, speculation hasn't ended. It's only been slightly more focused.

    1. Don Jefe

      Why does going into an Apple store seem to make people more likely to part with significant sums of money? The same could be asked about any retail presence really.

      The truth is people want to acquire things, they want to give you their money. They've been subjected since birth to the most well developed science known to Human history: How to seperate people from their money.

      In retail you've got to have a hook. It can be price, service or some gimmicky bullshit that looked at objectively adds no value to the purchase, but it activates those conditioned responses.

      In the case of Google products, they aren't going to be competing on price, they obviously aren't going to be riding on service, gimmicky bullshit is all they've got. Besides, it's almost certainly cheaper to buildout a barge than rent prime retail space and you've got loads more options than in a managed retail area.

      As far as webinars, the bulk of consumers aren't going to explore products solely online. They've got to see one and hold it before they buy it. People more comfortable online (like you, presumably, and I) are far more likely to do some research and be comfortable making a purchase based on what we've learned. The vast majority of people aren't like that though, hence the whole 'showrooming' thing. If Google wants to get into the mass market they've got to cater to that majority.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        it's almost certainly cheaper to buildout a barge

        Perhaps more importantly, the barges let Google avoid most regulation and official inspection - one of the points that the "mainstream media" have done a relatively good job at emphasizing. For a secrecy-obsessed1 organization like Google, that's probably irresistible.

        1For their own secrets, of course. They don't want anyone else to have any. But then that's their mission: collecting "the world's information".

      2. Soap Distant

        The "showrooming" thing is entirely right. But, they might just be trying out a way to dodge the NSA wiretaps...


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " exactly does being on a "barge" offer any new way to explore strange new technology..."

      Well being able to touch things is nice. Imagine a barge full of people wearing Google Glass, then imagine the barge touching the ocean floor.

    3. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Anything that avoids the use of the word "webinar" gets my vote.

  4. Herby Silver badge

    Pardon me sir...

    ...for mistaking me for someone who actually gives a damn.


    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Pardon me sir...

      "Pardon me sir for mistaking me"? You're apologizing to yourself? Is this a new variation on Step 8?

  5. Steve Knox

    Makes Sense

    Once they get the marksclients on board, they float out into international waters, and then the real fun begins!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Makes Sense

      Right so, you're imagining the barge out in the middle of the ocean, Eddy Ito is imaging the USS Forrestal, and I'm imagining it touching the ocean floor. Apparently the only people with appropriate imaginations, do not work at Google.

      Fuck, I'm going to opening just in case any of this goes down. I'll be the guy laughing in a life vest holding a fire extinguisher, we'll get drinks.

  6. Splodger




    Repository of



    Arm forward torpedo tubes!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BARGE


  7. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Missed the boat

    Face it barges are boring. Instead of a pair of barges they could have had the USS Forrestal for cheap money. Now that would have had people talking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missed the boat

      Well, Google claims to have some hot products!

  8. dssf

    Floating combat barge

    Linked via the cloud.

    Probably has a few more set up with bridge and CIC/composite task force commander suites, not for just titillating the USN, but other navies, too.

    Might be an attempt to influence the future shipalts to the Zumwalt or other cruiser/destroyer types...

    Just speculating.

  9. Ketlan

    Offshore banking...

    They're a couple of handy places to store Brin and Page's spare cash, that's all.

  10. Splodger

    I suspect that Google's competitors have been caught napping, and at least one might have to deploy the odd...


    Littoral &



    Temple of



    ...if only to muddy the waters.

  11. Paul Webb

    Stormy waters ahead

    Sergey's Underwater Nexus KitKats! - BARGE Adrift Ruins Google Experience

  12. Get the puck outa here

    Think - tip of the iceberg

    And Vogon constructor fleet.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Google barge? Yes, they do.

  14. Chris G Silver badge

    Associative Thinking

    Does Eric Schmidt like white cats?

    Have any extinct volcanoes been on the market lately?

    Are these barges big enough to swallow a submarine?

    Can they launch world internet dominating cyber balloons?

  15. Dave Bell

    Barging around

    While a century ago the word "barge" covered a range from canal boats to self-propelled coastal vessels, and both Europe and the USA have some quite ship-like objects on their big rivers, it is a word which suggests something of rather limited seagoing capability.

    You would need good weather to take such a vessel outside San Francisco Bay. The US East Coast does have a coastal waterway.

    If they want a barge in Europe they will have to build it here.

    As for what it can do, there are quite a few Exhibition Centres by big rivers and docks. It's been a shift in the use of land as the traditional ports have been redeveloped. I have my doubts about access to such places as Canary Wharf in London, but it could be moored withing walking distance of some pretty big Trade Shows. And then maybe the metal structure makes sense. Instead of Google sharing an exhibition hall with thousands of people wanting to use mobile tech, phone and networks, they can provide their own space, with the clean radio bandwidth they need, and a very fast connection to the rest of the Internet.

    It wouldn't hurt for a training course either.

    There's a history of technology companies running training courses as promotions for their products. It goes back a long way. Singer did it for sewing machines. John Deere does it for tractors and combine harvesters. And please don't try to tell me these things are not technology. What do you know about how such machines work?

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: Barging around

      If they want a barge in Europe they will have to build it here.

      Nah, they'll just swallow it up in the Google supertanker that this is all a cover for, then they'll slowly take over the entire worlds commercial shipping fleet, before finally refusing to ship products from Apple!!!!111! Mawahahahahahahahahhha

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Barging around

      "If they want a barge in Europe they will have to build it here." - well, you obviously haven't seen the "Mighty Servant" line of ship-carrying-ships then...

  16. xyz

    Pretty handy when there's a earthquake though...

    I wonder if the NSA has given them a heads up on a San Francisco HAARP test

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    E-meters at the ready!

    Perhaps they're really setting up their own version of Sea Org

  18. HKmk23

    Exit strategy?

    and the least successful Googlers will;

    a/. Walk the plank.....?

    b/. Take a voyage on a leaky barge?

    c/. Sleep with the fishes?

    d/. Wear a pair of concrete boots?

    although several of the above options terminate with option C/.

    So it all ends in a C/. voyage............ouch!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology"

    It was a bright cold day in April, and the Google Clocks were striking thirteen.

    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a Google Advert beaming into a human face — forever.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have many because I don't believe a word Google says.

  21. Guz

    No one has really noticed that the barges are owned by a shell company named "Buy and Large, LLC", which happens to be the same name of the company that destroyed earth in the movie WALL-E.

    Also there are FOUR barges in the works, named "BAL0001", "BAL0010", "BAL0011", "BAL0100" . Which if you notice the numbers are in binary for 1, 2, 3, 4.

  22. Mr. Peterson

    why am I reminded of the late Howard Hughes

    & The Glomar Explorer?

  23. Mark 85 Silver badge


    There's a lot more people not on the coasts than there are. These things look too tall to go under the bridges that cross major waterways. So what, exactly, is the marketing plan? Park them in San Francisco and maybe New York and bus all of us non-coasters to the barges? Seems rather a waste to me.

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  25. Ken Y-N

    My current wild speculation is:

    This fits in with the latest "revelation", and would match the size of these barges and suits the Google image:

    A massive Google Glass-enhanced laser tag site.

    Throw in some haptic feedback kit from their black projects division, and you could be a good way along to realising the Star Trek Holodeck.

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