Google retail stores

Seth Weintraub:

An extremely reliable source has confirmed to us that Google is in the process of building stand-alone retail stores in the U.S. and hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas.

Here’s what I don’t understand — Google hates talking to its customers, so what are they going to do in a retail store? Obviously, they will have workers in those locations, but having retail stores means having an infrastructure of people. Sometimes people that have to talk to customers.



  • justin_horn

    I think Google is just like, well Apple and Microsoft have them… I WANT ONE!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/gorskic Chris Gorski

    But here is where you misunderstand, Jim! The Google Retail Experience™ will be set up like the legendary Automat…no employees at all. Just vending machines!

  • http://twitter.com/waggtech WaggTech

    Maybe they are going to hire mimes to work in the stores?

  • http://twitter.com/wsarles Chad Sarles

    Perhaps the stores will only consist of vending machines for Nexus devices and Google Play gift cards? :)

  • http://twitter.com/NWNirvana The Dictator

    What I want to know is what are they going to sell? Ad space? They don’t make anything. LG makes their phone. Samsung makes everything else. This is just another way to copy Apple so Google sheep can live like Apple fans.

    • Tvaddic

      Google would sell anything that has Google as the default search engine, and Google could demo some of the other projects they are working on, Google Glass, 1 GB. Internet etc.

    • MacsenMcBain

      Maybe they’ll have a walk-up search desk- whenever you lose your car keys, you can (walk to the mall and) ask for help finding them. Be great for reuniting people with lost pets too…

  • http://twitter.com/Awax Awax

    Android users are not Google customers. They are Google product.

    Google customers are advertisers. Google stores will be the place where advertisers would be able to see the products they are buy from Google.

    • http://twitter.com/studuncan Stu Duncan

      So, in-store cameras, with monitors in the back, for the customers to see the product, milling around in the front of the store.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sebastian-Paul/1186812355 Sebastian Paul

        And an ambulance in the backyard to get the harvested kidneys as soon as possible to the hospital for transplantation^^

  • http://twitter.com/J_Fo Jeff

    Jim, Google’s customers are advertisers, not users of its products. You should know this by now.

  • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

    It’ll be nice for the FOSS zealot population to have someplace to hang out.

    • Mother Hydra

      How many “Nick Burns, the company computer guy” types can you fit in a retail location? We are about to find out.

      • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

        Ach. Thanks for reminding me of that detestable character. Still trying to forget one of his real-life counterparts from ten years ago.

        • Mother Hydra

          I work among this sort, always stuck on some moment in tech history, never in the present are they. I’m channeling Yoda apparently.

          • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

            You have my sincere sympathy.

  • Lukas

    Presumably, this is Google’s attempt at solving the tech support issue. I think it’s great.

  • Orc4hire

    Everyone should treat these as analog search engines. Go to the store and start asking questions. “My PC won’t boot. What should I do?” “How do I get to Kalamazoo from here?” “Does this look infected?”

  • tylernol

    I take this as a further sign that Google realizes that they have lost control of Android and they need to do whatever they can to reinforce the “Nexus” brand and they are going to do it by aping Apple. Amazon’s Kindle is an example of where Google does not benefit from the fact that Kindle is based on Android. Take a look at the recent Samsung phone commercials, I believe they never say Android anymore. They just say “Galaxy”. How long before Samsung starts excising Google’s tendrils from their Android fork?

    • Mother Hydra

      I think this is the true endgame for Android phones- differentiate by forking the platform and putting value-add software and features front and center. Or, put more simply, they will copy Amazon.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      Google hasn’t lost control of Android by any means. They built Android to get Google services on devices and to “free” us from a monolithic future (their words as I recall, not mine). This they have accomplished.

      Who cares of a company markets their brand over Android. Their brand uses Android and that means Google services are right there.

      • tylernol

        nope. Exhibit A: Amazon.

        • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

          LMBO. You’re right…nope! Your Exhibit A is by design.

          That is setup and designed by Google to be possible. You are part of the Alliance or not. If the latter (Amazon), you are not allowed certain things like Play Store access, etc. Pantech does the same thing.

          • tylernol

            pay attention to what I am stating: Google does not benefit from Amazon forking Android and peeling out Google’s “tracking” hooks. Google is an advertising company. Do they get more or less information from a user of a Kindle than a comparable Nexus Tablet? Or even an iPad?

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            No, they don’t benefit from Kindle. That is one example of someone doing what Google allows. I gave another.

            Now…show me how Google has lost control. That’s what I’m focusing on in your comment not that someone used an OS they were allowed to use.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sebastian-Paul/1186812355 Sebastian Paul

            Google has created Android in fear that some day a company creating smartphones (= Microsoft) dumps Google as the default search engine and not even money will be able to change their minds (= Bing).

            Some other benefits of Android are that they get even more information of their users location, stuff they buy, search etc.

            What Goggle has achieved:

            One of the most successfull non-Apple tablets is one that only shares the compatibility with Android apps with Google’s Android, even though it’s based on Android.

            If Amazon ever chooses to make Bing or even DuckDuckGo their default search engine, there’s nothing that Google could do.

            Samsung is the only company that is using Google’s Android and is making real money from it – and they have stopped advertising their devices as being Android compatible, they are advertising their devices as being Samsung Galaxys.

            Owners of Samsung devices will be using S-Cloud, S-Voice, S-Maps and S-Appstore in the future and if they ever sever all ties to Android and go Tizen, with an added compatibility for Android apps (for the first year and increased performance for native apps after that period) – customers and developers will follow.

            And then there’s Apple…

            Google has been Apple’s partner from the day the iPhone has been released… well – until Google tried to backstab Apple with a “stolen product”.

            Google has lost Maps and YouTube on the iPhone, because they crossed Apple and i doubt there’s no one in Cupertino thinking about how to also get rid of Google Search on the iPhone.

          • Steven Fisher

            How to get rid of Google Search: That’s what Siri is. It’s all about reducing the number of queries to Google. It doesn’t matter that iPhone users can still use Google, even as the “default,” if they’re using Apple’s content partner-based anti-search engine for most of the “searches.”

    • Tvaddic

      Or they are demoing things like Glass, Chromebooks etc.

  • http://www.thegraphicmac.com/ JimD

    Google should prepare themselves for being little more than a tech-support bar.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    I’m curious why you feel “Google hates talking to its customers”. Is there any proof to that or are you basing it on them being an online services company?

    • Luděk Roleček

      Have you ever tried to get support for any Google product except Adwords?

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        I have but I can’t recall what it was. It may have been a Google Apps setup. I rarely need to contact Google.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phong3d James Campbell

    My only real expose to Google’s retail presence has been their Fiber Space here in Kansas City, and I can say that it’s actually extremely nice. It’s open and friendly, the staff is smart and OK with you just poking around with the hardware and services to see how they work. There’s a little counter for helping customers out, and their signup process for installing Fiber is smooth and easy (provided you’re in the active neighborhoods so far).

    There’s a separate wing where groups can hold meetings and use a large screen, some podiums, free wi-fi/super-fast internet and lots of seating. They’ve established the location as a community hub of sorts, and it’s pretty smart, considering the service they’re offering.

    Obviously, Google’s presence in more commodity retail space will be a lot more utilitarian and geared towards foot traffic, and the range of services provided will be pretty thin, provided they only sell Nexus phones/tablets and Chromebooks/Chromeboxes. As Fiber expands, they’ll have a much more compelling retail portfolio. Interesting to see what they do with it.

  • dr.grinch

    It will be to sell Google Glass and test drive Google Car.

    Google Nexus line. Google TV. Google Home. Google Chromebook. Google Watch. Google wearable computing Jacket.

    • http://twitter.com/NWNirvana The Dictator

      Of which they would make $0 on as they don’t make any hardware. However, they would continue to help foreign competitors. Google is evil IMO.

  • Tvaddic

    Google wants to get enough people to hangout at this store as possible. They will have incredible internet, to get people to search. And demo some of their hobbies, like self-driving cars, and Glass.

  • http://www.guidingtech.com/ Alvaro Bernedo

    Small mistake there: People are Google’s PRODUCTS. Its customers are advertisers.

  • http://twitter.com/NWNirvana The Dictator

    I’m predicting it’s going to smell REALLY bad in these stores.

  • GTWilson

    I suspect their variant of geniuses will simply tail the customers, take down everything they say, record everything they do then give them shopping suggestions for the remainder of their time in the mall.

  • Jim

    People are users, the customers are advertisers. Google probably likes talking to them.