Google to open high street shops this year, rumour says

The Android-maker will open its own shops in mere months, a rumour says, hinting Google Glass could be with us soon.

The high street may be collapsing around us as we speak, but it's not deterring one company from setting up shop, in the US at least. And that company is Google, according to a rumour.

9to5Google reports that an "extremely reliable source" has told it the Android-maker "hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas." Google Glass demo areas, anyone?

Google is increasingly branching out into hardware, thanks to partner deals with the likes of Asus and LG. And maybe a physical shop would mean its Nexus 4 wouldn't be so unobtainable. It could also sell merchandise related to its doodles.

According to the report, Google is gearing up to hit the high street because it thinks punters are unlikely to shell out for pricey gear without trying it first. This all sounds to me like Google Glass could launch sooner rather than later.

Google already has mini-stores in some PC World outlets here in the UK, and some Best Buys in the US. Though recently the company was keen to downplay rumours it would open standalone shops. Google Shopping head Sameer Samat told AllThingsD in December that it "had no aspirations to open a store."

He added: "We aren't planning on being a retailer. We don't view being a retailer right now as the right decision."

Amazon is also mulling plans to launch on the high street. Its CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in an interview at the end of last year that he wanted to do it in a way that's "uniquely Amazon". He said: "The question we would always have before we would embark on such a thing is what's the idea, what would we do that would be different, how would it be better… we don't want to be redundant."

Should Internet giants hit the high street? It's an interesting trend, with some former retail greats going the other way, and becoming online only. And would you shop at an Amazon or Google store? Let me know in the comments or over on Facebook.

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