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Google's new London store won't sell the new Chromebook Pixel

Richard Easton
12 Mar 2015
Google Store shop front
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Google’s opened its first dedicated retail store in central London but it won't be selling its new Chromebook Pixel

Apple's success with its more than 400 retail stores has obviously had an impact on its competitors, with Microsoft opening its own-branded stores and Google joining in with its first own-brand store, located inside Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road in London.

We popped along to see what the store was like. Google’s space within the Currys PC World is right at the shop front, so there’s no missing it. It’s all open plan as well, so you’re not sectioned off from the rest of the store in any way. You’re immediately greeted with a display of Chromebooks but unsurprisingly there wasn’t the just-now-announced Chromebook Pixel on display.

What was a surprise, however, was the response we received when asking a Google Store employee about the availability of the Chromebook Pixel. We were told that it was coming soon but that the Pixel would not be sold at the Google Store on Tottenham Court Road. Instead, employees are asking for customer email details to keep them informed about the Pixel's release.

Google Store Chromebooks

The other Chromebooks on display, such as the Acer Chromebook 15, various models from Asus and the HP Chromebook 14 were all sub-£200, so perhaps the thinking behind the omission is the Pixel won’t appeal to the same price-conscious consumers visiting the Google Store. We were told the decision was at the discretion of Currys PC World, so this could be seen as the company not having much faith in the premium Chromebook, which costs £799.

Inside the store

While the lack of Google's flagship Chromebook was a surprise, the rest of the shop has plenty on display for customers to interact with. It begins with a strong shop window installation of Google’s famous ‘doodles’ with a Rube Goldberg contraption that visitors can interact with from inside the store. Pressing a button releases a metal ball and you have wheels and dials you can turn, it’s all good fun and visually engaging for passers-by.

Google Store inside

To keep visitors entertained, there’s also a large Google Doodle wall that allows you to use a digital spray-can to graffiti and doodle on the wall to your heart’s content. Small buttons on the spray-can let you control what you're doing: one button let you swap between Google’s famous brand colours and a second button lets you undo your last input. There’s depth perception, so the closer you are to the wall the thinner the lines drawn, with the coverage area expanding as you spray further away.

Google Store Doodle Spray

Another installation lets you interact with Google Earth on a massive scale. There’s a giant multi-display wall installed that’s connected to a smaller control station that lets you use a joystick and touchscreen with Google Earth. You’re able to zoom all the way out to a perspective from space or all the way down to Street View. The installation certainly has a ‘wow’ element and showcases how far Google’s mapping technology has come over the years.

Google Store earth display

Finally, there’s a small pod where you can try out a Google Chromecast. Dotted around the store are Google’s other Nexus devices including the Google Nexus 9 tablet and Google Nexus 6 smartphone, so a good opportunity to go hands-on if you’ve not seen them in the past.

Google Store Chromecast display

The store doesn’t rival your average Apple Store in size or scope but there’s plenty to do and, if that’s not enough, there’s free coffee and the chance to grab a Google branded tote bag complete with goodies inside to entice you to go along. Just don’t go expecting to see the newly announced Chromebook Pixel.

Google Store goodie bag

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