Google has opened its first Google-branded store on one of London’s busiest shopping streets.
In a surprise move, the Silicon Valley internet giant has launched its own store, known as the Google Shop, within the Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road.
The “shop in a shop” will allow Google to promote its Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops and Chromecasts.
“The pace of innovation of the devices we all use is incredible, yet the way we buy them has remained the same for years. With the Google Shop, we want to offer people a place where they can play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer,” said James Elias, the UK marketing director for Google.
“We think it’s a genuinely unique try-before-you-buy experience,” he added.
Google said its store will feature a Google Earth screen installation that will allow users to “fly” around destinations of their choice. It will also have a wall for creative types to paint their own version of Google’s logo using spray cans.
The shop will host to a range of tutorial sessions and demonstrations that are designed to help consumers understand the devices and the Google apps.
A Google spokesman told Techworld that Google had chosen to base its first Google Shop in London because the UK is one of the company's largest and most active markets.
Two more Google Shops will be opened in Fulham and Thurrock Megastores later in the year, Google said.
Google Shop vs Chrome Zone
Google claims this is “the first Google Shop experience Google has opened anywhere in the world" but the concept is remarkably similar to the Chrome Zone, which was also based out of the PC World store on Tottenham Court Road.
The main differences between the Chrome Zone and the Google Shop are size and device range, according to a Google spokesman. The Chrome Zone was essentially a desk selling Chromebooks, while the Google Shop has a full range of devices, in addition to classes, one-to-ones and a range of interactive elements, he said.
The company also failed to mention its Basecamp stores, which were opened around the world last year in a bid to support the sales of Google Glass. These retail units were shut down shortly before Google announced that it was rethinking the Google Glass product.