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February 19, 2013

Google Stores, Coming to a City Near You?

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

So you’ve been to the Apple store and it was pretty cool. You may have even been to a new Microsoft (News - Alert) retail store, but what about a Google store? Of course Google has an online store, called Google Play. But a physical store you can browse through?

If the techno-rumor mills are true, you may get your chance to visit a store just like this by the end of the year.

Recent reports stated that the purported Google stores will operate in a similar manner to Apple (News - Alert) stores, and be staffed by trained Google employees selling Google products and services to consumers including Nexus tablets and Chrome products as well as Google (News - Alert)-branded merchandise and apparel and, possibly, the company’s up-and-coming enhanced reality eyewear called Google Glasses (once they become available to the general public).

This is, of course, all rumors and speculation, so it can’t be taken as the absolute word. However, the rumors have also been reported by other websites, which reported that “an extremely reliable source” told a reporter that Google is in the process of building stand-alone retail stores in the U.S. and hopes to have the first flagship stores open for the 2013 holidays in major metropolitan areas.

Brick-and-mortar business isn’t an entirely new thing to Google, which currently runs store-within-a-store kiosks in a few hundred Best Buys in the U.S. and 50 PCWorld/Dixon’s stores in the U.K.

In addition to selling available products, services and merchandise in the stores, the retail locations will give the company the opportunity to demo and educate up-and-coming technologies and far-flung projects developed by its R&D arm, Google X. (Driverless cars, anyone?)

Bloomberg Business Week is reporting that Google has filed a local planning application for a retail store in Dublin, Ireland.

Google has neither confirmed nor denied that the application is for a retail store.

“While we do have the option to open retail space, we are examining all potential uses,” the company said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg (News - Alert). “No final decision has been taken.”

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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