World’s First Google Shop Opens in London

The world’s first Google shop has opened inside a Currys World PC store in London.

Google, perhaps known best as a search engine (owning 65% to 70% of the global search engine market), will be using the store-within-a-store to push the sale of Google hardware such as Chromebooks, Android Wear smartwatches, Chromecast streaming dongles, and Nexus tablets and smartphones.

“We think it’s a genuinely unique try-before-you-buy experience,” Google’s U.K. Marketing Director James Elias told the Telegraph March 11.

Although Google has not yet opened an Apple Store-like retail chain, this is the first move in that direction.

In addition to selling products, the shop will host “Virtual Space Camps” to teach children coding skills and “Open House” events to show off educational tools.

According to those who have toured the space, the store is as much a showpiece as it is a retail location. The iconic Google logo in the window is constructed of items referencing British culture (a suspended bike in national colors forming the first lower-case “g”), and an electronic wall inside allows visitors to create their own Google Doodles with artificial cans of spray paint, and save them as GIFs. A Chromecast pod allows users to access content from Google Play and YouTube, and a portal facilitates immersive exploration using Google Earth.

“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; from an incredible range of devices to a totally connected, seamless online life,” Elias said.

Two more Google shop “experiences” will be opened inside Currys stores later this year, the company has indicated.

On March 11, Google also announced the launch of a new online Google Store, which will sell hardware. Any pending device orders from Google Play will be automatically transferred to Google Store; the existing Google Play entity will continue the sale of apps, games, music, TV and movies.

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