Move over Apple, because you aren't the only popular tech brand capable of opening a trendy hang-out/store, a place where the sycophants and those who would be considered customers descend upon to either soak up the trendy atmosphere or to actually buy something.
With Apple stores, it's hard to tell the these entities apart.
Does this mean the same thing for the Google followers in Europe, thanks to the opening of a Google Store in London, England? According to a report in the London Evening Standard a Google Store, which actually sounds like the various kiosks you see in every mall in the United States, has opened in London, and is located on Tottenham Court Road. Google's first foray into the brick and mortar world, which is apparently called the "Chromezone" -- wow, really? -- is actually a "store within a store" and its located in London's PC World, hence the kiosk reference.
Courtesy of the Evening Standard, here's what a Google Store looks like:
For now, the Chromezone sells, much like the name suggests, Chromebooks and various accessories. Apparently, no Android mobile devices are being offered at this time, and according to the report, the Google Store in London will only be open until Christmas season is over. However, if this initial retail offering is successful, it could pave the way for more permanent Google Stores, which will only increase the competition between Apple and Google.
The Evening Standard's article contains a quote from the head of consumer marketing at Google UK, Arvind Desikan, who says:
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. We found anecdotally that when people tried the device and played with it, that made a huge difference to their understanding of what the Chromebook is all about. 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.
Clearly, Google's goal is to increase the "visibility" of their Chromebook devices, and they feel a hands-on session will increase a consumer's desire for their product. When you consider the alternative -- watching YouTube videos of Chromebook machines in action and reading other people's reaction -- a hands-on approach to increase interest in these devices only makes sense.
No matter how well written a review is, it doesn't take the place of actually experiencing the product for yourself before a purchase is made. What if the glowing review writer likes features you don't? Does that review help as much as trying it out for yourself? Doubtful.
Lastly, the report reveals more England-based Chromezones are upcoming, with the next one scheduled to open in Essex on October 7th. Still no word about Google trying that approach in the United States, but if the European storefronts are successful, it's only a matter of time before Google stores begin opening up stateside.
Anyone want to bet that the first Google store will be in, or around Mountain View, California? Although, maybe a place like New York City would be a better alternative for an initial launch.