Make no mistake: Google is going directly after Apple.
It already has the most popular smartphone platform in the world. With the purchase of Motorola, it will have a credible hardware arm.
And now, it’s opened its first retail outlet.
As the London Evening Standard reports, it’s just a small “pop up” store within a U.K. computer retailer called PC World. Right now, it only sells Chromebooks and headphones, and it will only run for a few months until Christmas.
It’s just an experiment for now. A spokesperson told the Standard “It’s something Google is going to play with and see where it leads.”
But this is exactly how Microsoft got into the retail game a few years ago: by creating “Microsoft stores” within big outlets like Circuit City, Best Buy, and — yes — PC World in 2008. It learned what it needed to know.
A few months later, Microsoft opened its prototype Retail Experience Center to journalists. In February 2009, Microsoft announced it would open its own line of stores. Now, it’s approaching a dozen. It plans to build 75 of them by 2014.
Google doesn’t have enough products to sell to justify its own line of retail stores. Yet. But by the time it does, look for a gleaming chain of Google Stores to sell whatever it comes up with.