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Google will reportedly open its own retail stores starting this year

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Google Store Large
Google Store Large

It's no secret that Apple's retail stores have proven extraordinarily beneficial for the company, and it looks like Google may be getting into the game now as well. 9to5Google is reporting that the company will be building a line of stand-alone retail stores, with the first locations scheduled to open by the end of the year. Google is said to feel that it has an assortment of products — from its Nexus line to Chromebooks — that customers aren't actually able to try out before deciding what they want to buy. Google has branded pop-up kiosks with several US and UK retailers, but these new stores are said to be full Google-run operations from top to bottom.

The decision to expand into retail was reportedly made when deciding how to best bring Google Glass to customers. That device won't be cheap — the Explorer Edition prototype was priced at $1,500 when pre-orders opened last year — and with such a new technology requiring that kind of hefty investment, the company realized it needed to be able to introduce the product to customers directly. It had previously been reported that Google was going to open a retail location in its European headquarters in Dublin, though the company said as recently as December that it had no plans on becoming a retailer.

The move would certainly make sense, as Google has made significant strides in building its own brand with the Nexus products, to say nothing of selling hardware through the Play Store. Whether the stores will end up being as successful as those run by Google's rival in Cupertino — or provide what Tim Cook described as a Prozac-like experience — remains to be seen. We've reached out to Google for comment.