Cloud Provider Commentary

Oct 30 2013   4:04PM GMT

Check out these photos of the alleged ‘secret Google barge’ in Portland

Jessica Scarpati Jessica Scarpati Profile: Jessica Scarpati

Rumors have been flying around about what a so-called mystery barge off the coast of Portland, Maine, could contain. Internet conspiracy theorists News outlets have been suggesting that Google could be behind the four-story structure, with the Portland Press Herald deducing that it could be a floating data center like Google is believed to be building in San Francisco Bay (a scoop that CNET got last week — well, sort of, as Google isn’t confirming any of this).

Whatever it is (or isn’t), two of our intrepid Portland-based TechTarget editors, Tessa Parmenter and Michelle McNickle, are hot on the trail. They snapped these photos Wednesday from Cassidy Point Drive in Portland, outside of Cianbro Corp, the construction company contracted for doing interior work on the barge.

Portland barge believed to be a Google facility

Photo credit: Tessa Parmenter/TechTarget

CNET is convinced Google is behind the San Fran structure based on several interviews with locals, as well as the fact that Google filed a patent in 2009 for a floating data center. Media outlets like the Portland Press Herald are making a connection between the San Francisco structure and the Portland one based on a few (highly speculative) observations: The two structures look very similar, the clients and contents of both are veiled in secrecy, and documents point to both being built by the same company in Louisiana.

Photo credit: Tessa Parmenter/TechTarget

Photo credit: Tessa Parmenter/TechTarget

Meanwhile, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, KPIX, claims one of its sources has confirmed that the West Coast structure is a “floating marketing center” for Google Glass (whatever that means). CNET seems to have warmed up to that idea, with Senior Writer Daniel Tardiman noting that:

“I was contacted by someone who said he had knowledge that the project in the works is a Google store of some kind. The tipster, who is well-connected in Silicon Valley but asked to remain anonymous, told me that he had heard from multiple sources at Google that the company plans to float the Glass stores from city to city by rivers, and that the idea for the project came straight from either Larry Page or Sergey Brin, Google’s founders. Finally, he said, the idea is in part that Google wants to launch stores without looking like they are trying to chase Apple.”

Personally, my favorite theory comes from a commenter on this piece from The Verge:

“They’re actually spacetime wormholes. You jump in the hole in Portland and immediately appear in San Fransisco. Cuts down on commute time for cross coast Google employees.”

Seems legit.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • FTClark

    How about this one... These are emergency work centers, which are not expected to be damaged by the imminent super earthquake soon to hit the West Coast. :-)

    Disclaimer: This is pure fiction, which has been fabricated on the spur of the moment and is not related to any soon to be released WikiLeaks material... :-)


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  • Jessica Scarpati
    Ooh, interesting theory. Let's hope the disclaimer sticks so that you're not writing the next comment from inside a foreign embassy somewhere. ;)

    A colleague shared another hypothesis yesterday -- that Google is ultimately planning to launch these in international waters, i.e., outside the jurisdiction/clutches of the U.S. (or anyone's) government. Though based on yesterday's news re: Google and the NSA, not sure how much of a difference that'd make, anyway!
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