We now know that the Google barges are “interactive learning spaces.” That narrows the field. They’re not off-shore data centers or Google Glass stores. They’re also not where Google keeps the porn (as Seth Meyers reported) and they’re not filled with bubblewrap for people to step on, although that would be awesome.
So here’s my hope for what “interactive learning spaces” means: In your face, Apple Store!
Apple Stores manifest Apple’s leave-no-fingerprints consumerist ideal. Pure white, squeaky clean, and please do come try out the tools we’ve decided are appropriate for you inferior Earth creatures.
Google from the beginning has manifested itself as comfortable with the messy bustle of the Net, especially when the bustlers are hyper-geeky middle class Americans.
So, I’m hoping that the “interactive learning spaces” are places where you can not only get your email on a Chromebook keyboard, play a game on an Android tablet, and take a class in how to use Google Glass, but is a place where you can actually build stuff, learn from other “customers,” and hang out because the environment itself — not just the scheduled courses — is so stimulating and educational. Have hackathons there, let the community schedule classes and talks, make sure that Google engineers hang out there and maybe even some work there. Open bench everything!
That’s what I hope. I look forward to being disappointed.