Are the Irish getting the world's first Google Shop?
Google's got a pretty massive portfolio of products. The company does everything from phones to operating systems, but there isn't yet a Google store where you can go to purchase Google goods. The company opened an online phone store when the Nexus One initially launch, but that didn't last too long. Google announcing the decision to only sell via third-party retail channels in May of 2010 and received its last shipment of Nexus Ones in July of that year. However, late last year the company opened up a pop-up store in London and it seems it might be thinking of a permanent location for Dublin.
The latest rumors have Google opening a physical store in Dublin, Ireland. The reports stem from Google Dublin, the company's European Headquarters, which recently filed a local planning application for a store in its HQ. The store would be 1,323 square feet, open to the public and would sell Google merchandise. The filing also details plans for a landscaped garden, swimming pool, gym and restaurant for the building, which Google acquired in April of last year. Bloomberg reports that Google yesterday declined to comment on its plans for retail locations except to say that it was an option.
"While we do have the option to open retail space, we are examining all potential uses," the search giant told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. "No final decision has been taken."
Late last year, Google opened up mini-stores inside the PC World and Currys on Tottenham Court Road, in London. Dubbed Chrome Zones, the stores focused on the Chrome Notebook line and offered people the opportunity to try out the laptops, previously only available to buy online, in person. Google said at the time that the company thought it important to let people play with the device before buying it.
"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." Google's Arvind Desikan said at the time. "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."
Taking that statement into consideration, it seems likely that Google will open more stores. When the UK's Chrome Zones opened, Google said it had more pilot stores planned for around the world, but the did not mention if these plans involve any bigger, stand-alone stores. We can understand Google's reluctance to enter the retail world in a big way -- renting a space, remodeling, and hiring staff is definitely costly. So it would certainly make sense to stick to the 'shop-within-a-shop' style of retail store, at least for now. Then again, opening one in your own HQ solves that problem too.