Google’s so-called first “Google Store” has caused something of a kerfuffle in the media, since the store broke Friday. However, everyone needs to calm down and take a chill pill. The store is in fact just a 285 square foot space within a PC World outlet on Tottenham Court Road, famed for its tech shops in London. An Apple store this is not. Plus, it will only run for a few months until Christmas.
Do we think this “low-key experiment” in real-world retailing has legs? Google UK’s head of consumer marketing Arvind Desikan was quoted as saying: “It is our first foray into physical retail. This is a new channel for us and it’s still very, very early days. It’s something Google is going to play with and see where it leads… People will be able to go in and have a play with the devices. We want to see whether people understand what this device is all about and monitor their reaction when they try it out.”
It’s fair that about 80 percent of laptops are sold through real world shops, this looks more like an exaggerated customer sampling exercise and a nice opportunity for some PR (not that Google needs PR – but it would like to see what people make of Chromebooks so it has to get the word out).
The ‘Chrome Zone’ section of PC World has just two benches of laptops that run Google’s Chrome OS. And there’s another Chrome Zone opening today in the Lakeside Currys PC World shop.
However I can’t see this becoming a widespread policy. That said, I would expect to see something similar in the way of retail experiments happen in the US when the UK trial has garnered some useful feedback.