Google to open retail stores this year

According to a bevy of outlets including the Wall Street Journal and 9to5Google, our favourite Californian search company may soon be opening their own brick-and-mortar retail stores. Google’s stores would compete against similar stores from Microsoft and Apple, offering a range of hardware devices and accessories for consumers to come in and try out.


What would be sold in these stores? Well, Google have rather quickly become a hardware company in addition to their traditional software efforts.
Google stores could carry Chromebooks, including lower end models and the new premium Chromebook Pixel, and other Chrome OS devices. Android smartphones and tablets would also be a no-brainer, most notably the Nexus line, including Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Google has also started making media devices like the Nexus Q media streamer, and that would make sense too. Google would also be able to provide Nexus 4 cases and other accessories, in the same manner as Apple stores do.


Finally, there are a lot of future Google products that would be best served by a place to see them in action, like Google Glass and self-driving cars. The former would be particularly cool to see in stores, as while Google’s videos are cool it’d be best to try it for yourself to get the full effect of wearing Google Glass.


Of course, these stores could be a good place for Google to show off their software offerings as well – the Chrome Browser, Gmail, Drive and plenty of other services will no doubt have a place in the stores as well. Google are serving up a whole ecosystem, and having a retail store would be a good chance to underscore just how wide that ecosystem is.


While Google has operated pop-up shops for Chromebooks before, opening permanent retail stores is another thing entirely. Both Microsoft and Google have also put a lot of thought into the design and construction of their stores, and no doubt Google will want to do the same, with inspirational architecture that’ll set them apart fromt he crowd. There’s also the ‘Genius’ element to consider – Google may want to staff these stores with Android and Google experts in order to solve customer’s problems in a way that goes beyond what’s possible in a purely online arena.


Thankfully then, they’ve still got some time to get everything sorted – both outlets are reporting that these stores won’t go live until the holiday season this year. A good time for the announcement to be made might be at the Google I/O conference in May, but we’ll have to wait and see – a late breaking Mobile World Conference announcement or leak may still be on the cards.


I’ll be pretty thrilled if these reports are accurate – it’ll mean that finally there’ll be a good place for Android enthusiasts like me to get jobs! What are your thoughts on Google retail stores? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and have a good one.

Author: William Judd – Follow him on Google+.

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