Google May Open Retail Stores Focused on Glass
Google Glass may need standalone retail stores to sell, fit and train customers on how to use the specs.
An unnamed source told BusinessInsider that Google is planning to open retail stores focused on its Google Glass Internet-connected specs. This source, sketchy as it sounds, knows someone who is working at Google specifically to develop the retail chain. This supposed Google employee even answers to Segey Brin himself to plot the retail rollout.
This isn't the first talk of Google opening a brick-and-mortar chain to sell its own products. The move to go retail would make sense given that Microsoft and Apple have their own retail outlets, but this is the first report claiming that stores will focus on one specific product rather than an entire portfolio of gadgets. As BusinessInsider points out, this comes from a second-hand source, so treat the info with some caution.
If anything, Google may be gearing up to launch something similar to what Samsung has done with Best Buy: create a store within a store. However, the source claims that the supposed stand-alone Glass stores will put the Glass brand front and center, and will even get customers set up before they walk back out the door.
"We think there's a good chance it's real," the report states. "We trust the person we talked to. And the more you look at how Google is rolling out Glass, the more it makes sense."
BusinessInsider also points out that Glass is new technology – it has a steep learning curve. Glass also requires being- customized to fit on each person's head. If it's not properly fitted to the user's skull, it's difficult to understand because it uses bone-induction to deliver audio. That's reportedly why early adopters in the Explorer program were required to travel to specific destinations to get their Glass units.
If that's the case, then yeah, a fully-focused Glass shop might be what's needed. "We had Glass in the office, and people struggled to figure it out on their own when trying it on," the report adds. "Google seems to realize people need Glass training."
It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt recently said that the consumer version won't arrive until the end of 2Q14, giving the company a whole year to tweak the specs to perfection and possibly launch the rumored dedicated stores.