February 18, 2013
Coming Soon: The Google Store
The move makes a lot of sense for where Google is going with its products. For three years now, Google has been selling its own line of Nexus-branded phones. Last year, it unveiled the Nexus 7, its first tablet. Both have been relatively successful with its base of customers; geeky early adopters who want more freedom with their devices than what Apple provides with iOS.
Google’s role with sales has been inconsistent so far: its Nexus 4 remained sold out for nearly one month in its Play store with little to no communication about when it would be restocked. The phone is finally available for U.S. buyers, with potentially more than one million devices sold, according to online estimates.
The Samsung Chromebook is out of stock on Google Play, an indicator there is a market for Google’s cloud-based operating system. Yet unlike early adopters, most consumers want to get their hands on a product before parting with several hundred dollars.
Both Google and Microsoft have learned the Apple model of controlling the entire ecosystem of a product — software, hardware, and sales leads to retail success and happier customers. By embarking on this road Google can better educate customers about its products and offer the kind of customer service that prior to now has been lacking.
While Android has risen to become the most popular mobile OS, Chromebooks are a more difficult sell. Exposing more customers to Chrome OS is the best way to convince them they can forego legacy software and operating systems in favor of web-based applications.
The problem right now; the best Chromebook is a MacBook Pro. The build quality and attention to detail of Apple’s laptops is still unmatched: Google must bring the same design acumen from its Nexus 4 and 7 to the Chromebook. While the new Samsung models have sold well, the computer still feels excessively plastic and prone to breaking. If Chrome is going to become a competitive operating system, it needs some serious hardware to power this vision of cloud-based computing. Anything along the lines of the rumored Chromebook pixel wouldn’t hurt.
Ultimately, Google stores need to offer a good experience for customers interested in Nexus and Chrome products. Google has long ago stopped being solely a search company: it is now a product maker, so it needs the same kind of mechanism for promoting and assisting users with its growing line of hardware and applications.
Image Credit: Google Press Images