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Google opens its first retail store, located in London

Watching how Apple has made such a big success of its retail stores, it appears that Google now wants a piece of the action.

The Internet giant has taken over 285 square feet of space inside a computer store in central London, though it’ll only be there until Christmas.

The Chrome Zone store opened for business on Friday inside a PC World store on Tottenham Court Road and, according to an Evening Standard report, “only sells Google’s Chromebook laptop and a few accessories such as headphones.”

Its opening was, by all accounts, a low key affair, and certainly a far cry from the commotion usually associated with the opening of Apple stores.

Google UK’s head of consumer marketing Arvind Desikan told the Standard: “It is our first foray into physical retail. This is a new channel for us and it’s still very, very early days. It’s something Google is going to play with and see where it leads.”

Desikan went on to say that the Chrome Zone would give consumers a chance to try out a Chromebook for themselves and help them better understand what the device is all about. Up until now UK consumers could only buy the Chromebook online, so Google will be hoping that giving people the opportunity to get hands-on with the machine will boost sales.

A post on the company’s Chrome blog by Google product marketing manager Laura Thompson said: “Many things in life, like football and rock music, are best experienced in person. Chromebooks are no exception.”

Google’s Chromebooks, which launched in June this year, are supposed to offer users a quicker, simpler and more secure computer experience. The laptops have no hard drive, and all software and data is stored in the cloud – so an Internet connection is essential for its operation.

A second Chrome Zone is set to open in a major shopping mall close to London next week, with more stores planned for other countries in the coming months.

Commenting on the new store, a spokeswoman told the Standard: “We’ve put a lot of effort into making it feel welcoming, homely and, dare I say it, ‘Googley’.”

[Images: Mike Harris - thinq_]