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Google going retail?

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Inspired by the wild success of Apple’s(s aapl) retail stores, Google(s goog) plans to open some brick-and-mortar stores of its own, according to a report by the 9to5Google web site.

google-glasses-featuredThe move makes sense now given Google’s big push into physical (i.e. non-software) products including Chromebooks, Google TV, and Google Glasses. These are the kinds of products people want to touch and feel before buying. Microsoft(s msft) launched its own retail stores (pictured above) a few years ago for many of the same reasons and is currently using those stores to drum up excitement around its new Surface devices and other products.

According to 9to5Google:

“The mission of the stores is to get new Google Nexus, Chrome, and especially upcoming products into the hands of prospective customers. Google feels right now that many potential customers need to get hands-on experience with its products before they are willing to purchase.”

The internet search giant is not totally new to the world of face-to-face retail sales: Best Buy hosts Google-themed stores in several locations.

Google could not be reached for comment.

 Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user blakespot

7 Responses to “Google going retail?”

  1. I’d really like to see the Google TV box perfected. There are times I’d like to surf and check out something while the TV is on and do it from a TV console than my laptop or desktop. When this gets perfected I think they will have a good in to the consumer electronics market and so many ways to go from there. I know they have Google TV boxes now but they are still buggy and I’m not willing to shell out $150 for that.

  2. I think it is a great idea. It give people a place to congregate and look, someplace to go and meet others with like mind sets. As for copy cat? How many automobile dealers do we have? Ford should have been offended. How many jewelry stores in the mall? How many shoe stores or clothing stores in the mall? And new ones every year. I think Microsoft and Google should open in the same places as Apple.

  3. It’s a sensible move that unfortunately will be seen as a copycat move. Google needs a retail presence. Despite Google’s online origin and presence, going online only for physical products is a limited strategy. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve recommended Nexus products to and the most consistent question I’m asked is where can I go and try out the device. Moreover, there are still people who don’t go online and research or buy products. Certainly Google needs to bring a new approach to retail and do something that Apple isn’t doing in their stores. What that is, I’m not sure, but Google has intelligent and creative people working for them. I’m sure they have some ideas.

  4. Matt Eagar

    I think this copycat stuff is sad. Apple has amazing success with their retail stores (beginning over a decade ago, I might add), so Microsoft decides to open their own. Now, a few years later, Google is doing the same. I don’t want to see Google and Microsoft trying to mimic Apple’s success – what worked for one won’t necessarily work for all. Instead, they should focus on doing their own innovation. Google Ventures is an example of where they have led, and I respect them for that. Whatever they do in retail will be compared directly to Apple, and it will seem lousy because even if it is good it isn’t fresh.

    For example, rather than responding to the iPod by working on the Zune, Microsoft should have been innovating like crazy in the phone space. Then they never would have given Apple the room to come in and transform that market. You can’t play catch up – if you are behind, you have to leap frog.

  5. This would be ironic. Those kind of stores are showrooms , their main role is not about sales yet Google isn’t doing much, or any , customer relations online to provide support , collect feedback , suggestions and so on.
    For an internet company to be so far behind normality online and spend hundreds of millions on stores is just crazy.
    If they are doing it to kill Apple in the US, that’s easy, just take away product placements from them.Android has a huge ecosystem,they can outbid Apple ,would be costly but a lot faster than without it.