About a week ago many computer news sites were full of gossip concerning the possibility of Google Stores in malls, rubbing shoulders with the established Apple Stores and the recently opened Microsoft Stores. The rumour didn’t only infect the computer news sites, heavyweight financial paper the Wall Street Journal also got in on the speculation. Now a senior Google chief has come out to say the rumours are wrong, that Google has “no plans” to open retail stores and they are simply not necessary.
AllThingsD interviewed Andy Rubin, Google Head of Android development, yesterday and when asked if Google may be considering opening retail stores he said “Google has no plans and we have nothing to announce”. At a meeting at the MWC Rubin said that people “don’t have to go in the store and feel it anymore,” and instead can get good purchasing information from friends, relatives and online reviews. Furthermore he suggested the Google hardware portfolio still doesn’t warrant its own bricks and mortar stores, even with the recently announced Pixel Chromebook.
There are options to try Google branded hardware in existing high street stores. PC World sells Nexus tablets, Chromebooks and even the Chromebox. Now that the Nexus 4 seems to be back in stock online a few more high street retailers may get some stock for their shelves.
Google has experimented with pop-up shops in the past; see the San Francisco airport example at the top of the page and the Heathrow airport pop-up store immediately above this paragraph. For now, Google is saying no to high street retailing. It may just be a matter of time if Apple’s stores continue to be successful, Microsoft’s store presence continues to grow and Google’s hardware lineup expands.