back to article Google to open flagship retail stores by end of 2013

Apple and Microsoft both have their own, dedicated retail stores. Can Google be far behind? If the rumors are true, the answer is "not at all," with the first Google stores due to open by the end of this year. Citing "an extremely reliable source," the gossipmongers at 9to5Google report that the Chocolate Factory is hard at …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not who they are, who they want to be

    Google doesn't want to be an advertising business. They want to be Apple. Admitting that you're an advertising company doesn't sit well with Googlers. They want to be all revolutionary and transformative, rather than a purveyor of stuff designed to make people buy stuff.

    I do want to visit one of these stores though - just to see how dyspeptic the neckbeards that take the place of Apple store employees are.

    1. .stu

      Re: Not who they are, who they want to be

      "Revolutionary and transformative" is stiff like self driving cars and augmented reality glasses. Not really Apple's thing.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Not who they are, who they want to be

        Either the iPhone was revolutionary or augmented reality glasses aren't as e.g. Vuzix will be on the market earlier and practical augmented reality itself is at least a decade old. Similarly either the Mac was revolutionary or self-driving cars aren't as e.g. Mercedes-Benz demonstrated one in the 1980s and even had one drive the normal autobahn from Bavaria to Copenhagen and back in the mid-90s.

        I don't see Google attempting to imitate Apple in any sense beyond being in some of the same markets. I consider either both to be revolutionary and transformative or neither. You don't have to pick just one.

  2. David 45

    Times are hard

    Retail bricks and mortar? I thought that was a dead duck these days with everybody buying on line. UK stores have had a hard time recently and I have no reason to think that anywhere else is different.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Times are hard

      They are dying because people go to the retail stores to look at the product, then buy it online.

      If they die off completely, people won't be able to see what the product looks like, and then they might not buy it. That is why it makes sense for companies to have retail stores as part of their advertising budget to showcase their products.

      1. CmdrX3

        Re: Times are hard

        Google has enough cash on hand to at least test the waters with 10 or 15 stores. Granted it would be an expensive experiment, particularly if it failed. I couldn't see it being as successful as Apple stores but you never know.

    2. johnnymotel

      last apple financials

      seem to recall that Apple made mega bucks selling out of their stores. Are not Apple stores the highest grossing per sq foot/meter? I agree that a retail store is essential for the public to buy, but if it's Apple, Google or Microsoft then it don't matter if the sale is in store or online, it's all bottom-line.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: last apple financials

        I thought Richer Sounds held that accolade? Even their new "mega" stores are tiny by comparison to Apple Stores. If apple are outperforming them, then they really are doing incredibly well.

  3. jake Silver badge


    The kids with the bucks continue to listen to the elderly marketards, throwing cash away left & right. I might have to start shorting stocks again ...

  4. Richard Lloyd

    Now if you could replace the onboard OS on a Chromebook...

    With netbooks pretty well dead, the closest cousin we have left is actually the horrible crippled Chromebook. Now if they did a high-end version of that with an OS that could be completely replaced internally (i.e. not booted off a slow SD card like the current Chromebook Linux hacks do), I'd be in the market for one. No way would I want to run Chrome OS though.

    I guess one advantage of a Google bricks and mortar store - assuming they stick to the same prices as their Google Play store - is that you can pick a Nexus device up without paying the hefty 10 quid postage charge. Plus they might actually *have* stock unlike their online store (Nexus 4 only came in stock a few weeks ago after months of no stock and the 32GB Nexus 10 has been out of stock for a long time now).

    1. toadwarrior

      Re: Now if you could replace the onboard OS on a Chromebook...

      It makes people think your product is more popular than it is if it's never in stock. But everyone should know android people are actually going for Samsung so the nexus can't be that popular.

    2. Mark .

      Re: Now if you could replace the onboard OS on a Chromebook...

      Note you can still get other laptops that are cheap and in the 11-12" range, like Chromebooks. Battery life is perhaps harder, but a quick Google finds for example the ACER Aspire One 725 quoted at 5 hours, at £250 (various Chromebooks are listed at ranging from 4 to over 6.5 hours). The key thing about netbooks was having them at 10" or less, and with really long battery life (my Samsung N220+ easily does 8, quoted at 11) - if you're happy with less battery and 11", there's still a lot of choice left.

      Though I do agree that the Chromebooks do look good choices hardware wise, and it would be good to have more choice of OS. I agree about having the physical shops - with all these tablets and hybrids appearing, one thing that's really important is to try out how it feels. With laptops, it's important to try out how the keyboard and touchpad feels.

  5. toadwarrior

    Chromebooks are turds

    If people didn't want net books why would they want a net book with less application compatibility than Linux even and one that barely works without a net connection? Putting it in a shop doesn't change the fact it sucks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chromebooks are turds

      It's Google so it must be good *howls of laughter*.

      Why don't they called it AndroidBook and then lots of dimwhit fanboys will buy it?

      Apple stores and now Google stores? do they not have a single original idea? I thought they were the champions of online business. What it proves is there is plenty of scope for high street stores, they're just all selling the wrong things at the moment.

      1. Mark .

        Re: Chromebooks are turds

        "Apple stores and now Google stores? do they not have a single original idea? I thought they were the champions of online business. "

        The thing that makes me laugh is all the "iphone app store" and "itunes" gift cards Apple have now littered across every shop in the UK. So you can buy online by first walking into a shop, then going home again, and buying it - it's so Apple.

        1. toadwarrior

          Re: Chromebooks are turds

          Apple didn't invent gift cards and not everyone (like kids) have credit cards which is why gift cards still have value.

        2. NullReference Exception

          Re: Chromebooks are turds

          Those gift cards are out there to let people easily make iTunes purchases with cash, so that kids and other people without bank accounts/credit cards can still give their money to Apple. It's smart business.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      IT Angle

      Re: Chromebooks are turds

      I have actually started to really come to hate Google.....

      Trying to print off all these webpages as PDF, The idiot Mozilla Crowd, still doing a sterling job of their shit printing interface... had to to the Mozilla version of Microsofts regedit, "about:config" and change a shitload of settings... Which actually worked - a few restarts later. (????)

      But I had a go at Chromium, the Linux version of Google Chrome, and it had Google PDF maker (or something that did it) as an extension......

      a) The program barely kind of worked.

      b) It had really fucking rotten config settings - and kept on only printing ONE comment, out of a whole heap of them on the webpage.

      c) It kept on throwing up adds like, "Hey learn to run a cellular phone data center" and "Garages and Pegodas for your car" - both at the same time, while trying to print off the webpage as a PDF......

      And not only am I pissed off about these fuckwits in Google serving me up adds in a PDF printing utility (that they probably copied) buy why am I getting fucking adds for running mobile phone data centers?????

      I have considered Add Blocker + (plus) and Element Hider, and Java script blocker and flash blocker and a few other things absolutely essential for ones emotional health... and generic intelligence.

      Like "NO - I do not want or need a car, I have no desire to go shopping for one either- so why are these arseholes shoving 467 adds for cars a day in my face????" "Oh they scanned my email and found that I sent a picture of the 1886 Thompson Speedster, with the 400 pound 1/2 horsepower non condenser engine... to a friend."

      These arseholes are just going FAR too fucking far, with the adds and cramming them in by the hundreds, at every fucking step of the way.

      So I uninstalled the Chromium browser, and sent the IDIOT Google Print to PDF application with it.

      It's like if you shaved your balls, the people in Google, would think it perfectly acceptable to shove reams of advertising in your undies for razors, shaving cream, delapitory waxes and creams, pubic aftershave, skin toner and facial tonic, multiple times a day, every day for ever, until you emailed a friend about toilet paper, and you can guess where they would stick the advertising for you then - don't you.

      Google and their advertising, are like being stuck in a never ending dense swarm of nasty biting flies....

      Just fucking at you, all the fucking time, every step of the way.

      Taking bites out of your intelligence and time.

      Ceaselessly devouring your integrity and resistance.

      I had the passing thought, "Ohhhh Google Netbooks!!! Yes a netbook without Microsofts insipid offerings on it!"

      But you know.....

      Using the Google browser and the Google extensions - "Oh fuck off - these people are just SO overboard with everything....."

      They are too far out of control - as my IDEA of correct advertising, is the information about the product or service, on the website, of the people providing it, and the ONLY reason I am seeing it, is because I went to that site to look for it.

      And that is fucking it.

      This never ending spray of shit from the spruikers, as I take every step along the internet footpath of life is just out of fucking control and Google are the all pervasive parasitic leech, trying to attach it's self to you at every millisecond of opportunity.

      People NOW need to use defences against them and their predatory practices.....

      Without ever having seen or used a Chrome Net Book - I am making the quantum leap from the standard fare "Google search engine" (without add block + and element hider etc.), to the Google Chrome / Chromium Browser - with the Google Extensions, and speculatively onto the Google Chrome Netbook - and saying "No Thanks, Fuck Off, Go Away."

      Google in their never ending quest to split hairs and stick adverts between them too - is shit - so their Google Chromebooks, which is filled with the Google Advertising Engine of Life - must be shit too.

      I will stick to my advertising requirements and the people in Google can shove theirs.

  6. Mark .

    Other Hardware Manufacturers?

    I've wondered if we'll start to see more hardware manufacturers - the thing in common with Google, MS and Apple is that they all make operating systems, but I don't really see that as being a big reason to have your own shops (sorry, I'm English, I call them "shops":)) The point about Apple is that they make hardware.

    Firstly it acts as a big advert - whilst I wouldn't touch an Apple shop with a bargepole, I note that if say I was looking for computer hardware, I'd happily include the Sony shop on my list of shops to visit. Not because I was a Sony fan, but I'd check out what they had to offer. So companies like Sony and Apple have a huge advantage - an extra place to show/sell their products, without competition.

    (I also think this is distinct from kiosks or "pop ups", like Samsung and often MS do, and Google have done - psychologically, I see a kiosk and instinctively see it as an advert for a single product, and avoid it - even though logically I know the same is true of shops that only sell their own products, it's easy to see them as just another shop.)

    Secondly, we're witnessing the problem of many shops disappearing - independent computer shops mostly disappeared, and now larger shops struggling. The sad thing is that the only places selling computer hardware in the Cambridge town centre is Maplin (don't sell complete systems), the Apple shop, and John Lewis (who seem to give Apple undue attention anyway).

    Whilst many people are buying online, it's still useful to check out a product in person. If I look at a product in John Lewis, and buy online elsewere, they lose out. If I check out a Samsung product in their shop, and then buy that product elsewhere, Samsung still win.

    Plus there are the advantages of being able to take it back for repair (or in Apple's case, have them tell you you need to pay for a replacement, even though you already also paid for the extra insurance).

    At least, I seriously hope that we'll start to see more shops!

    1. Anthony Prime

      Re: Other Hardware Manufacturers?

      > Plus there are the advantages of being able to take it back for repair (or in Apple's case, have them tell you you need to pay for a replacement, even though you already also paid for the extra insurance).

      Lol. Nice and open minded I see.

      On the one occasion I've had to use AppleCare over the past 10 years, it was a new for old no questions asked swap offered without prompting on an 18 month old MacBook. Of course the machine was probably a refurb, but didn't look it and good customer service is good customer service!

      If I were you I'd save the prejudiced anecdotal snide comments until you have some valid 1st hand experience. Which as you discount AppleCare based on nothing more that blind piqué will be never. :-)

  7. PaulR79

    New business model!

    Will this be like other Google products where you get the things for free but come out of the shops plastered in adverts? Maybe they fit something to your voicebox so you can't speak until you've shown someone a video advert? The possibilities are endless :D

    I am not serious of course and use many Google products very happily. Each to their own.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe use the closed down Microsoft stores

    Which all seem to be barren wastelands even on product launches...

    1. Atonnis

      Re: Maybe use the closed down Microsoft stores

      Bollocks. I was in one in Copenhagen a couple of months ago and it had loads of people going in and out, trying out all the laptops and tablets, and quite a few people buying stuff.

  9. Mike Flugennock

    Apple and Google "butt heads"?

    Hey, you said it; I didn't.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not the holiday season

    Can we get away from referring to December/Christmas as "the Holiday Season". That's a very American phrase which doesn't reflect the reality that in Europe holidays are mostly taken in the Summer and that Christmas is simply some time off. An American company it may be but let's not be forced to adopt a notion that is out of kilter with your majority audience

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: It's not the holiday season

      I'm not sure you're aware if who the majority audience is anymore.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The majority audience?

        It's Americans who want to be British, isn't it?

        Or it put it another way, sane people who were accidentally born the wrong side if the Atlantic.

        It's ok, we'll annex you back if you want.

  11. Mr Young

    Once upon a time...

    I had to make excuses to avoid shopping but now shopping avoid me!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The car alone would be enough.

    OK I have to admit, if I saw a lawnmower size self driving car in the store, I would go in at least once in.

    The car would just bring too much curiostiy for me to shy away from, could be 1 of many factors why I've never been in an Apple or Microsoft store. However, Google would have to trade out tricks to get me in again :-).

    1. GBL Initialiser

      Re: The car alone would be enough.

      If you buy the car it would probably automatically drive you back to the shop on your way somewhere else due to your previously expressed interest in Google products.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: The car alone would be enough.

        Thanks GBL, you just crushed my future curiosity :-(.

        Still though, a Google store in a mall is still better than a Facebook kiosk in a mall! Give it time...

      2. tzx4

        Re: The car alone would be enough.

        One has to ponder what kind of details about your personal life driving (passively sitting in ?) a Google car might just transmit back to its creator.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will they project advertisements on us?

    Will they project advertisements on us as we walk in the door? Will a special version of Adblock be available to stop them?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to be quite positive about Google

    I got quite fond of the nice, uncluttered search engine interface, which was a refreshing change from the alternatives of the time, with their gratuitous overburden of cekebrity news, inane trivia and mindless ads.

    I put up with the sponsored links - Google has to keep the beer fridge stocked after all.

    Now, I'm not so sure: the amount of evil is rising - search results skewed to who you are and what you looked for a while back. Chrome books that are almost, but not quite dysfunctional. The rising tide of in your face ads. The behavoural tracking.

    I think I can truly speak of Google in a similar tone to that I use for another well contempted Internet company: which is "Meh"

  15. BigG

    The rewards...

    ..seem to outweigh the risks for Google.

    Obviously they'll have their work cut out to compete with magnetically attached power plugs, unique rounded corners, etc, but I admire their indefatigabilty.

  16. bag o' spanners

    I want the self-driving unicorn with rounded corners

    Excellent news. Now I'll be able to pop in and play random toobsurf on a Chromebook when it's tipping down and the bus stop's clogged with damp folk.. Aneurysms for their adserver? Don't mind if I do.

  17. Oninoshiko
    Paris Hilton

    Since I'm there product

    do I have to go sit on their shelves?

    1. Mr Young

      Re: Since I'm there product

      Maybe so and thank you for your provocative comment. Ideally - if it's inevitable that Google make money from my info I'd expect a cheque in the post thanks! Always the optimist I am.

  18. Van


    They're just desperate to have that now trendy minimalistic way of showing off products. The look and feel that Apple stole from European designer clothing boutiques and tried to call their own.

    This trend is actually quite an effective way of advertising, despite rents still being unaffordable for regular traders.

  19. tzx4

    a bit incomprehesible

    Apple sells devices. A retail for them makes perfect sense.

    Microsoft sells software, thus a retail outlet makes little sense.

    Google sells its users' eyes and minds to advertisers. A retail outlet for google makes little or no sense, unless one envisions a whole store full of Motorola phones. chrome books and Nexus tablets. Maybe glasses and google cars in the future, but in any case, these devices are but a very tiny percentage of their profits. What does Google hope to accomplish with a retail presence? Perhaps I am dim witted, I just don't get it.

    The Apple store I frequent happens to be within about 50 meters of one of those relatively rare Microsoft stores. The MS store has more than double the floor space, and at any given time there are less than 30% of the number of shoppers in it compared to the Apple store, scattered about, relaxed and quiet. In contrast, the Apple store resembles a raucous crowded bar.

    Which of these two would one suppose a Google store might resemble?

    There is an Apple imitator out there for whom a retail chain might make some sense, that would be Samsung.

  20. Alan Denman

    No tablets to swallow here

    "It's Google so it must be good *howls of laughter*."

    The real howls of laughter come in 5 years or so time when everyone will fondly remembers tablets as a once non niche device.

    'Did we really fall for that crap?'

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What will the store employees be called?


    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: What will the store employees be called?


  22. Atonnis

    Well... least this might get rid of the creepy Google staff that have been hanging around Currys PCWorlds of late.

    I wandered in to buy a Lenovo laptop (yeh, I was in a desperate rush to have it ready so I had to go to one of THOSE shops) and was immediately set upon by this smug, creepy guy (in a blue t-shirt, which confused me) appearing out of nowhere and invading my personal space whilst twattering on 'so you're going to use Google Docs on there, right?'. 'Your company would benefit from hangouts', and really getting in my face.

    I was two seconds away from just chucking the box on the floor and walking out when the sales rep suddenly realised how p*ssed off I was and told the guy to go to the other half of the store. F*cking wanker.

    1. GBL Initialiser

      Re: Well...

      Adblock branded ear protectors in order on your next visit.

  23. JaitcH

    Shouldn't be hard to design ...

    since Apple filed a patent for their shops.

    Google can surreptitiously see the weaknesses and change the layouts and then they are ahead.

    They could even pick over the 'genius' shop hand training manual - except they should use a name people can relate to.

    There's a new rail station being built in NYC - great place for a Google store to bug the hell out of Apple.

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