Google is now truly everywhere.
The search giant has opened the world’s first dedicated ‘Google Shop’ in central London in a move industry experts say is an attempt to match Apple’s High Street presence.
The interactive shop has launched inside Currys PC World in Tottenham Court Road and represents a step forward in retail for the creator of Android software.
James Elias, marketing manager for Google UK, said the launch is “our answer” to the try-before-you-buy shopping experience now expected by customers and led by brands such as Apple and Nike.
Inside the Google ‘lounge’ customers can test the latest Android-enabled technology including phones, tablets, Chromebooks and the Android Wear range of smart watches and learn how they work together with help from technology experts.
A virtual graffiti wall allows creative customers to have a go at designing their own Google Doodle seen daily on the search engine, while a surround screen installation allows users to explore the planet on Google Earth.
Other quirks of the new space include a ‘live trending’ screen of popular searches and regular workshops for all ages on staying safe online and how to get the most out of technology.
Mr Elias said: “We recognise the world of retail has moved on and brands like Apple and Nike have been a big part of that so we know that people expect more from their shopping experiences now, and we think this is our answer to that – a space where people can come and try all our devices and see all the amazing things you can do with those devices and have some fun along the way.
“We think the time is right for us to launch this bigger store-in-store experience now that we have so many amazing devices. He added: “It’s a global first for us and it’s all about creating a brand new and, we hope, very unique experience for our customers to try our devices and try the best of the web.
“First and foremost, we’re a web company and we wanted to create an experience that was ‘web first’, so absolutely it’s a place that people can come and enjoy our devices and understand how they work together. “But as much as anything else it’s about what people do with those devices and we wanted to create fun, playful, magical experiences.”
For the first time last quarter Android, which competes directly with Apple’s iOS system, sold fewer phones than its rival in the US.
Two further Google shops will launch later on this year in Currys PC World’s in Fulham, West London, and Thurrock, Essex