The mysterious Google Barge that’s been floating from port-to-port, leaving people scratching their heads about what the search-engine giant is up to next, made its way to the Massachusetts shore this week, before it was picked up by another tugboat company and dragged to the Gulf of Mexico.
“We completed the tow four days ago,” said Captain Brian Fournier, president of Portland Tugboat LLC, the company that pulled the giant vessel from Portland, Maine to the Boston area.
Despite reports, Fournier said that the barge never arrived in Boston’s harbor, but instead was left in Quincy where he transferred it to a privately owned maritime construction company. He said the vessel, which housed a four-story structure that looked like an office building, is no longer owned by Google, and that the on board containers would be scrapped, and the barge used for other purposes.
“It’s not associated with Google anymore, they are long gone out of that endeavor,” he said. “Our goal was to deliver it to Quincy—that’s it—and it’s probably already gone by now.”
An email for a request for comment from Google about the barge was not returned Wednesday. Calls to the Quincy Maritime Center and police unit also were not immediately returned.
Vivien Li, president at the Boston Harbor Association, the entity that would be notified of its arrival, said she “thought it was coming, then heard it wasn’t coming” to Boston.
The secretive structure, one of three floating in the waters off the East and West Coast, fueled speculation during the past year about what Google may have been working on. Some suspected they were floating data centers, while others believed they could be out-at-sea party spots. Google told TechCrunch they intended to use them as possible showrooms for emerging technologies like Glass, but even that was just a grandiose vision that never panned out.
Fournier said the barge that was parked on Portland’s coastline, before coming to Quincy, was nothing more than an empty shell of dullness.
“It’s 100 percent empty,” he said. “It’s nothing. It’s anticlimactic. It’s completely hollow. It’s a silly structure that is 100 percent useless, and not one minute of labor was ever on that barge. It was a complete and utter failure.”
He said the barge itself is more valuable than the 63 shipping containers that made up the structure on top of it. He said the metal from the compartments will probably be sold off for scrap.
“Whatever they had hoped to do or accomplish failed epically,” said Fournier. “For us, it was just another barge.”
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