Google just opened its first retail kiosk in London, UK as an effort to promote Google’s Chromebooks running on ChromeOS. Called the Chrome Zone, Google hopes to help consumers choose and purchase the right chromebook for them. Unlike Apple Stores or Microsoft Store, the Chrome Zone is only a kiosk inside a branch of PC World.
The store currently sells Chromebooks and various accessories, but no sign of other Google hardware products like Android tablets and phones. Chromebooks runs on ChromeOS, which is heavily dependent of Cloud services for storage and for day-to-day use. Google hopes to improve sales of these netbooks by allowing consumers to have a hands-on experience with them in the stores.
Another kiosk is planned to open on October 7th in Essex, but little is known about Google’s retail plans on the other side of the Atlantic.
The head of consumer marketing at Google UK, Arvind Desikan, has this to say regarding the opening of the first kiosk:
It is our first foray into physical retail. This is a new channel for us and it’s still very, very early days. It’s something Google is going to play with and see where it leads. We found anecdotally that when people tried the device and played with it, that made a huge difference to their understanding of what the Chromebook is all about. People will be able to go in and have a play with the devices. We want to see whether people understand what this device is all about and monitor their reaction when they try it out.
The UK Chrome Zones are expected to open until after the Christmas season as a sort of pilot project. If this works out well, expect more Chrome Zones to pop up around the world.