The Apple store has been a huge success, perhaps a bigger factor in Apple's dominance than any of its products. Microsoft stores, not so much, but that's never stopped Microsoft from copying someone else's idea and hoping it sticks.But now, Google is said to be getting in on the action and is planning to open up its own stores by the end of the year.
9to5Google has it on good authority, it claims, that Google is not only thinking about retail stores; it has something planned for this year. The plan is, apparently, to have at least some stores in major cities in the US ahead of the holiday season.
Google has made some foray into the retail world, it has several "mini stores" in larger retail outlets in both the US and the UK, but these would be its own, fully-branded stores.
It makes some sense for Google to venture out into retail stores; it makes a lot of sense in fact. Google is already selling a number of "Google" devices, the Nexus line of phones and tablets and the Chromebooks.
It doesn't actually make any of these devices, they're all built by hardware companies, but, in the case of the Nexus line, Google gets to call the shots on the hardware and, for both the Nexus devices and Chromebooks, it has absolute control over the software.
When Google started dabbling with hardware, with the Nexus One, it opted for an online-only store. It turned out to be a complete failure.
Since then, while you can buy a Nexus 4 (if you can find it in stock) or a Chromebook from the Play Store or from other online retailers such as Amazon, all of them are available at physical locations as well.
Google is working on its own devices too, Google Glass is coming along – Google just held its first developer event.
The high-tech glasses are going to be a tough sell without people having the chance to experience them outright. Chrome OS itself would benefit greatly from people being able to see and play with a Chromebook before buying it.
And the glasses aren't all that Google is working on, the probably dead Nexus Q is one example.
There are hints of less futuristic devices as well, clues of a touchscreen, Retina-class display Chromebook are piling on and it looks like Google had a much bigger hand in this project than the other Chromebooks.