November 21, 2013
Apple Nervous As Google Eyes Retail/World Domination
Not content with having taken the Internet by the scruff of the neck, or with running the two biggest search engines on the web (YouTube being the other one), Google is now looking at expanding to be major a contender in the tech and retail markets, as it opens its ‘Winter Wonderlabs’ in certain US cities for Christmas.
Kenneth Wisnefski of Internet marketing company WebiMax said: “The opening of shops across the country shows Google is interested in showing off their latest products to potential consumers. With Google Glass still to come, Google could be a major player in the tech space come 2014.”
Google tech is already present and looming larger, and Apple will be watching closely what happens to the tech market that they currently dominate. When it comes to software, of course, the Google-Apple battled started long ago, when Google introduced Android for smartphones which challenged, some say even equalled, Apple’s dominance in the field of fancy cell phones. But now hardware and main street stores are a battleground too.
Fred Vogelstein’s book Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution is an interesting look at how Google and Apple went from being friends to enemies once toes started being trodden on. A few years ago, according to Vogelstein, Google and Apple were “spiritual allies” in a battle against Microsoft, and had little reason to suspect each other because “Apple made great devices, Google made great software.” Smartphones changed everything. Google teamed up with, among others, Apple’s famous antagonists Samsung (with Android) and now there is not only competition – there is vindictiveness.
Things are only getting hotter. Google hardware now includes Nexus phones and tablets, Chromecast media players, Chromebook laptops, and Google Glass is imminent. Who knows what else might come out of Google X, Google’s secret lab a few blocks away from its HQ in Mountain View, California. A place reported to be working on a self-drive car, among other outrageous things.
Winter Wonderlabs take the fight to the streets. There is still plenty of public appetite for ‘real’ shopping, despite the online shopping revolution, as the hundreds of millions of visitors per year to Apple stores prove. At Christmas, people love to wonder around woolly-hatted among giant, awkwardly-moving mechanical Santas and reindeer. Wonderlabs incorporate Christmas fun as well as showcasing Google products. You can make a slow motion video in a giant snow globe and play all sorts of games.
Winter Wonderlabs are only opening in a few cities in the US: New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Paramus, NJ and Sacramento, and are only open until Christmas. Hardware can only be ordered from Google staff, not taken home on the day. But the ‘pop-up’ stores may be a sign of things to come. Unless Google suddenly appear uninterested in delving into every corner of as many potential markets as possible, we may expect that Main Street and the High Street will be their next ports of call.
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