Google owns many properties around the world, both real and virtual, but none has made more news lately than its infamous barge.

Harking back to the famous unwanted Long Island Garbage Barge of the late 1980s, Google's version is making its way to a new West Coast port of call after being declared a persona non grata at its old resting place. The barge's latest move has it arriving at the Port of Stockton where it may have finally found a welcoming home.

Like the garbage barge, the Google barge was asked to leave its original home, but there is a major difference. The Port of Stockton was more than happy to take in the wayward boat late last week when it was towed to its new space.

According to reports, the port has reached an agreement with Google to dock the 200-foot watercraft there at a cost of $10,000 per month for a period of six months. The barge previously was docked off Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, but San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission objected to that location saying Google did not have the proper permits for that spot.

Google was given the choice of filing for the permits or paying a fine, instead the online giant opted to move the entire floating contraption to Stockton. The barge's new home does offer very tight security. As part of the security measures put in place after Sept. 11, the port only allows limited access. This should help keep people from wandering nearby and ogling the project.

Exactly what Google is doing with this waterborne annex is still a bit of a mystery. While the barge itself greatly resembles the floating prison barges used by New York City, reports from both the company and non-Google sources say it is being rebuilt as a technology demonstration space.

The barge is about four stories tall and constructed out of dozens of shipping containers.

Google still owes $79,000 in back rent for the facility it had at Treasure Island. Estimates are that Google has put about $35 million into this barge and another that is now in Portland, Maine.

The mystery surrounding this East Coast cousin is even deeper with some speculation that it might be turned into a retail facility. Another possibility kicked around is a floating data center.

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