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Google turning barges into floating retail stores, report says

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Exactly what Google wants to do with the barges being built on both coasts are becoming a bit clearer.

According to a new report, there will actually be three barges and they will be used as floating retail stores for Google's new Glass eyewear.

They will cost a total of $35 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which attributed the information to a budget report by Turner Construction Co., which is building the barges.

The barges will be stationed in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, the Chronicle says. Each barge will be built out of 80 shipping containers and they'll each feature large sails.

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The project has been code-named Hangar 3, a reference to the location where one of the barges is currently being built at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, the Chronicle says.

Treasure Island Development Authority Director of Operations Mirian Saez told the Chronicle that Google representatives have said the barges will "be an important opportunity for the launching" of Google Glass in 2014.

Google has been cagey about the purpose of the barges, saying only that they will be used as "interactive space" for learning about technology. 

"While we have explored many ideas in the past around the barges, our current plan, as we've stated before, is to use them as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology," the Silicon Valley company told the Chronicle. 

But the floating Google Glass retail stores may not come to be if Google does not obtain the necessary permits. The Chronicle says Google needs a permit from the regional Bay Conservation and Development Commission if it wants to keep a barge in San Francisco Bay for a lengthy period of time, and that may not come easy.

"A floating retail store that is not a bay-oriented enterprise would probably make a lot of jaws drop at a commission meeting," Larry Goldzband, commission executive, told the Chronicle.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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