OK, you really can’t sell something that’s free, but customers can get Google Mobile in a retail brick-and-mortar now. Best Buy Mobile, which sells handsets throughout the U.S., will offer to install Google Mobile on new phones. Customers who aren’t familiar with the software can even get an overview of what it offers. Interestingly, Google says installation is for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and S60 devices only. I would have expected that Android devices would be in the mix as well. More than likely, it is, even if not specifically mentioned.
In any case, this is the first noticeable push to get the Google name and services in a retail setting. Sure, you could say that Android devices were truly the first, which is accurate. But this is a little different in that the focus is on Google services and software on non-Google devices. With the majority of the search market, Google is certainly a familiar brand name. What consumers may not know of in detail though are the services like Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Docs, for example. Raising awareness through in-store marketing and free software installs could expand consumer knowledge on the offerings, gain more customers and add more search revenues to Google’s coffers.
Our tech-savvy audience probably isn’t likely to be affected by the Best Buy Mobile deal, but do you think it could have benefits to Google in the long run? I’m even wondering if folks come away with an impression that the Google experience is better on Android devices than on others.