The headlines say Google’s store in Currys PC World in London’s Tottenham Court Road is its ‘first’ Google Store-branded store, but 2011 headlines were proclaiming Google’s first store in the same location - then dubbed the Chrome Zone and selling Chromebooks and accessories - so it is really the second such store from Google?
Google’s own blog post has the details from 2011 plus a photo of what the store looked like back then - which is nothing like today!
Fast forward to 2015, and Dixons Carphone Group has announced that Google has, in a world first, unveiled its first ‘shop in shop’, called the Google Shop, even though this is really the second time a Google store has opened.
But this time, instead of just Chromebooks alone, Google is going all in, with a range of Google branded Android phones, tablets and Chromecast devices.
It will show people who are potential customers how Google’s devices ‘work together, from one device to the next, to make users’ lives as seamless as possible.’
And unlike the Chrome Zone with a few rows of tables, store visitors get some seriously fun eye and brain candy.
Google’s new Shop will be housed at Currys PC World, 145-149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7NE. Despite the previous Chrome Zone in the same location we’re told ‘this is the first Google shop experience Google has opened anywhere in the world’ and that ‘there will be two more later on in the year in Currys PC World’s Fulham and Thurrock Megastores.’
One new experience is an immersive surround screen installation which Google calls called ‘Portal’. It lets users can ‘fly’ through any part of the planet through Google Earth.
Then there’s the Doodle Wall. Here, ‘budding graffiti artists can use digital spray cans to paint their own take on Google’s iconic logo, which they can then share on social media’.
Next up is a ‘Chromecast Pod where customers can enjoy Google Play Movies, YouTube and more, all cast through a Chromecast dongle that converts any TV into a smart TV.’
Oddly, the media release says that the ‘Google shop hopes to host regular classes and events for the public.’
I wonder why they just don’t say they will, rather than this vague ‘hopes to’ business. Either it will, or it won’t, but that said, the media release says ‘classes will range from how to keep secure online and simply learning how devices work, to understanding how different devices work together to enable a more connected lifestyle.’
In a more positive sign of definitive decision making, we are told that ‘Virtual Space Camps’ will be ‘offered to teach children the basics of coding and teachers will be invited to ‘Open House’ events, to keep up to speed on the free educational tools on offer from Google.’
Google’s James Elias said in the media release that: “We’re incredibly excited to launch this space - the first of its kind anywhere in the world - in London with Currys PC World.
“The pace of innovation of the devices we all use is incredible, yet the way we buy them has remained the same for years. With the Google shop, we want to offer people a place where they can play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer; from an incredible range of devices to a totally-connected, seamless online life.
“We think it’s a genuinely unique try-before-you-buy experience.”
Ainsley Sykes, Senior Project Manager for Currys PC World, added: “We are delighted to partner with Google in bringing a world first retail experience to one of our stores. This will be a new and innovative way for customers to engage in store, interacting with the immersive technology as well as having fun while learning.
“Google experts will be on hand to maximise the experience for users and provide help and support around the Google eco-system. This fantastic space compliments the interactive and informative environment we aim to create for customers visiting all of our stores.”
Although there’s no mention of it in Dixons’ media release, the Daily Mail thought a video of the new Google and Mattel View-Master https://www.view-master.com/en-us/index.html device with modern-day virtual reality was included in its story, which suggests the new Google Store might show these off too.
If so, perhaps Google will showcase its Google Cardboard virtual reality glasses that can be easily made at home with inexpensive parts or purchased online as very inexpensive kits, with Google’s official cardboard page here, which links to four stores that sell pre-made devices for https://www.google.com/get/cardboard/get-cardboard.html
Here’e the View-Master ‘sizzle’ video to give you an idea of how it works: