You may have heard that Google wants to own all the information in the world, now barges seem to be next on their list! There’s been much speculation about four barges which Google has had built, and just what it intends to do with them. (Artist’s impression below!)

Priobably not the Google barge

Stories in the technical press suggest they might be intended as mobile datacentres. Shipping containers stacked on deck could contain rows of computer servers to help power Google’s enormous need for data storage to power all that information for their search engines and the other computer services they provide for business. Being afloat would make it easier to cool all those computers, it has been suggested that they could be wave powered! It would also be possible to site barges at locations round the world where they were needed. (Though isn’t that what the Internet is supposed NOT to need?)

Other suggestions were that they would be used as mobile exhibition spaces with conference and presentation facilities, plus showrooms and outlet stores for Google products like their enhanced vision system ‘Glass’. And, just to keep it Google style, it would include a convivial party deck’ on top!

However Google has now broken its silence and reportedly said ‘… A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. 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.

So will we be seeing a floating University of Googling on our canals soon? Probably not, the barges are currently in harbours in San Francisco and Portland, Maine and are four stories high, so they are unlikely to get very far up the Grand Union! But this is the company planning to spend $120 billion on its new GooglePlex headquarters including a private museum, so as they say, it’s early days yet, who knows what they might do!

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