Despite the Internet’s many advantages, nothing yet comes close to the experience of holding and using products in person, or having someone answer all your questions face to face. That’s most likely the reason Google, until now one of the few tech giants bucking the trend towards brick-and-mortar stores, is introducing a real-world location of its own inside a Currys PC World on London’s Tottenham Court Road.
If it wasn’t already clear, physical outlet stores are no longer consigned to big box retailers. In recent years, companies like Microsoft and Samsung have established footholds in physical retail, the former with standalone stores and the latter within larger outlets. Apple, of course, has had its own stores for some time now.
The new Google shop stocks Chromecast dongles, Android tablets and smartphones, as well as Chromebook laptops. Soon, on-hand staff will give topical presentations and demo device features. The store also plans to hold coding camps for kids and “Open House” events where teachers can learn about Google’s educational tools.
In the vein of Microsoft Stores’ signature video wall, interactive screens in the Google shop let budding pilots “fly” over continents using Google Earth, draw with virtual cans of paint, or cast Google Play movies and YouTube videos to surrounding displays.
The shop is in its early days, but Google is already anticipating success: The company plans to open additional stores within Currys PC Worlds in Fulham, West London, and Thurrock, Essex.
Unfortunately, a stateside expansion doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now, Google gave no indication of a similar arrangement with any U.S. electronics chain. Considering last year’s embarrassing , though, it may take some restoration of goodwill before such a deal is finally struck.