Google Mystery Barge One in Maine Gets Sold as Scrap Metal

The Google barge in Maine has been sold for scrap metal
In the last decade, the mighty Google has become more than the world’s favorite search giant. The company is also famously innovative and well-known for its original marketing ploys, its flamboyant work-place environments, and its sheer willingness to go the extra mile to give consumers an experience they won’t forget.

Take the two massive barges it purchased, based in Portland, Maine and Stockton, California. That’s right, barges. Four-story floating structures made of more than sixty white and grey shipping containers stacked together in an intricate design with sails made to look like fish fins.

The barges were one of the many mysteries that Google originally denied involvement with. But last October the press began to speculate, and Google finally admitted that yes, it did own them. What exactly they were going to be used for was still a mystery. All Google would say was they would become a place where people could interact with technology. That doesn’t narrow down things a whole lot, and we may now never know what the original conceptual purpose for the barges was destined to ultimately be.

With all the build-up and mystery behind the barges, at least one of them is coming to an anticlimactic finish to what could have been a great new experiential advertising campaign, showroom and educational tool. The fate of barge number one has been sealed with a reported sale to a shipping company who will be dismantling it for scrap metal.

Google isn’t saying why it has decided to scrap the barge. Speculation is that issues with the barge was causing delays to showcase new Google technology like Google Glass. There is no word on what will happen with Google barge number two in Stockton, but with the one in Maine now headed to the scrap heap, the outlook for a long a fruitful life at the docks doesn’t look good.

One also has to wonder if Google’s marketing team simply blew the budget? They reportedly have $9 million to spend on outdoor (which is where we assume the barge spend were slated), but with an estimated value of $4 million per barge, plus $400,000 in property taxes and the $10,000 monthly docking fee, costs must have been racking up.

The question is whether Google is finally starting to move away from its well-known, flamboyant spending practices in favor of some more cost effective marketing, or shall we just prepare ourselves for the next surprise?

This entry was posted in Budgeting, Education, Entertainment, Frugal and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Google Mystery Barge One in Maine Gets Sold as Scrap Metal

  1. bill says:

    These barges are just strange. Google has never said exactly what they are/were for and now they are scrapping them without ever doing anything with them. I wonder if someone is going to lose their job over this?

  2. bear says:

    …not “going to lose”…did lose.

  3. smtih says:

    If I was doing something against the law I would do it on a boat so my lawyer can say, “The project is on a boat in international waters, not on American soil.”

  4. dean says:

    From what I understand, Google was hoping to sell product from the barges. They were having troubles because it’s illegal to do so. They thought using a barge instead of a permanent structure, they could sneak around the rules and save money. They were caught and told they couldn’t do what they wanted, so they sold it.

  5. faith says:

    Why all the mystery around these barges? Why didn’t they just explain what they were for at the beginning? Were they trying to do something illegal on them?

  6. zenith says:

    I thought they were going to use these barges for something where going outside US territorial waters is to their advantage. Maybe taxes? I don’t think they were supposed to stay docked up the whole time. That doesn’t make sense.

  7. william says:

    Why does everyone assume “illegal” when a company doesn’t explain to them everything they want to know. It’s just as likely trade secrets that if known, might jeopardize what they are planning. Just because a company does something doesn’t mean they have to tell you. And if they choose not to, it doesn’t mean it is then illegal.

  8. william says:

    Except, of course, the barges are in US waters…

  9. j O'shea says:

    Loop holes loop holes, still not soil…welcome to America.

  10. joe says:

    If they wanted to stay out on the water for long periods of time, they wouldn’t pick a barge. A barge stays close to land most of the time. No way that it would be in international waters long enough to not pay taxes.

  11. Google Dad says:

    Larry and Sergei built the barges and waited. And waited. But the Mother Ship never came.

  12. ellen334 says:

    If they sold one, they will sell the other one as well. I wonder if the buyers of the barges can get in and see what they were up to? Maybe a competitor should be looking to purchase them.

  13. American says:

    Leaving the United States with the intention if doing something that’s illegal here is a crime. For instance, Antarctica has no laws, because it has no government. If I take my wife there and murder her, I’ll still be charged with murder. Welcome to America, where the constitution is about as useful as toilet paper.

  14. Mike Rikson says:

    Highly doubtful. Google does not eliminate people, they eliminate failure… quickly. The people behind it may not have succeeded at this endeavor but will on something else and those type of thinkers are hard to find. Don not be so foolish as to think this is a big deal to google. A few million on a market cap of 400B is really nothing. Good try better luck next time. And no lost jobs.

  15. tekrytor says:

    American, toilet paper is actually quite useful. Think about the alternative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *