California to Google: Move That Boat (Update)

Update, 3:32 p.m.: San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission responds (see bottom).

Original Story:

macguffin.jpg
The barge from a distance.
Three months after Google sent the Internet a-tizzy by mooring a mysterious Flying Dutchman off the shore of Treasure Island, state officials are telling the tech giant to dock its ship elsewhere.

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which oversees permits for vessels in the Bay, already clamped down on Google once before, saying it didn't have a permit to leave the barge at Fort Mason. Now it's saying the boat can't just hover near Treasure Island, either, even as it's undergoing construction.

In the last month, the Google barge morphed from a source of fascination into a giant complaint magnet, according to The Verge.

It's unclear where Google will steer its project next, though observers speculate that the company shouldn't have trouble finding a new, fully permitted, watery hub. It might not even have to move far.

In the meantime, the forced relocation plan prompted a flurry of jokes about the barge becoming an outlaw or counterculture icon, being transformed into a fully operational battle station, or, perhaps, being repurposed as affordable housing for San Francisco residents displaced by Google. (Ouch.)

And here's another suggestion: In light of Google's recent commuter experiments, the barge could be converted into a giant sea bus.

Update: San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission spokesman Brad McCrea says that, while Google currently has no authorization to use the pier and adjacent shoreline at Treasure Island for its floating showroom, the company still has a 35-day grace period to rectify the situation. That means it can either gear up to move, or submit its permit application right away.




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