Google's Scrapping One of Its Mystery Barges

One of Google's giant barges, which has been sat in Portland Harbor since last October and was planned to be an invite-only showroom, is being scrapped.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the barge—which is one of a pair, the other being in San Francisco—was moved Wednesday. According to the newspaper, it made its way from Portland Harbor to to Turner's Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland, where it will be dismantled.

That in itself will be no mean feat: its structure is made up of 63 shipping containers forming a four-story building atop the vessel. The owner of the terminal told the Herald that the barge had been purchased by an unnamed "international barging company"; the containers will be scrapped.

It's unclear why Google abandoned the project, but money probably has a lot to do with it: when new in 2011 the barges were worth $4 million a piece, it cost $400,000 in property taxes to moor in Portland over the past months, and refitting them was no doubt cripplingly expensive too.

Google's other barge—which was towed from San Francisco to Stockton after complaints—remains untouched. For now. [Portland Press Herald]