The two mysterious barges Google has parked on either side of the United States will be used as flashy product showrooms, a new report has claimed.
Speculation about the function of the two barges has raged ever since they were stationed near San Francisco's Treasure Island and off the coast of Portland, Maine. Both barges feature a large - and very ugly - makeshift four-story structure on their decks.
After frenzied reporting traced the barges back to Google, a report from a local CBS news outlet claimed the barge would not only serve as a showroom, but as a party venue.
The website alleged the barges were dreamed up at the shadowy Google[x] skunkworks facility, which is based around the corner from the advertising giant's Mountain View headquarters.
The first three floors, we're told, are intended to serve as "dazzling showrooms", complete with chrome fixtures and snazzy lighting. There is also an upper deck party floor, where rich customers can carouse with Google staff.
Being built on a moveable barge, Google's new party venues could be moored off the coast of the US one day and perhaps moved to the Thames a few weeks later.
Where it can't be moored, however, is the top of Fifth Avenue or on London's Regent Street, the locations of Apple's most famous retail stores, which are thought to have inspired Google's barge scheme.
Conspiracy theories about the barges have run all week, with some forum whackos claiming the Chocolate Factory was going to use the barges as arks, load in the animals in two by two and await the apocalypse.
Other nutjobs suggested the Bilderberg Group had persuaded Google to stash a few nuclear bombs in there, so it could blow up the US whenever it fancied getting cracking on the much-delayed New World Order project.
Given the level of secrecy surrounding the barges, it's no wonder the rumours started. Even San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee didn't know what was aboard. “They’ve kept a secret from me as well,” he said.
In a statement, the Californian Coastguard said it had carried out safety inspections of the barge, but would not tell the world what was inside it.
"The Coast Guard conducts hundreds of inspections across the region on a wide variety of commercial vessels. During the course of these activities, Coast Guard personnel are often exposed to sensitive proprietary information, new technologies, and other trade secrets. Regardless of the company or entity involved, the Coast Guard has an obligation to protect sensitive proprietary information, as a company’s competitive posture and business interests depend on it." ®