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Google Readying to Open Stores in Major U.S. Cities

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The Los Angeles Times reports the tech giant would like to follow Apple's example with stores that would allow customers to test-drive its Google Glass smartphone eyeglasses, Chrome computers and Google Nexus smartphones and tablets. There are currently no details on how many stores the company may be planning to launch, but they will reportedly be located in major urban centers.

Some in the tech community, however, question the wisdom of Google moving into bricks-and-mortar retail. According to Tech Crunch, since Google barely makes any money on sales of its smartphones and tablets as it is, adding rent charges into the equation might end up hurting the company's bottome line.

Rent is a pain, as are utilities, training and staffing costs, paying for interior design and fixtures; there’s a considerable amount of overhead that goes into a venture like that. Sure, Google could still make some money in the long run but it doesn’t seem like much of a sure thing unless Google manages to perform very, very well in terms of sales volume. If we’re looking at this whole situation purely in terms of dollars and cents, a big retail push seems like a very dicey decision.

Of course, that’s not to say this whole thing is completely impossible — Google may be going after more than just money. A move like this may serve to solidify Google as a real consumer brand instead of just that thing you use when you want to scour the Internet for, well, everything. That sort of shift in public perception could only help when it comes to pushing hardware products in the future, especially if Google really does end up creating ambitious new devices on its own.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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