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Google opens first Apple-style store

The first Google store, known as the Chromezone, opens in London. It has been set up within the not exactly chic confines of a PC World Store.

They will fight them on the beaches. They will fight them online. They will fight them over the phone. They will never surrender.

Now they are going to fight them in the High Street and the Shopping Mall. In offering a little Churchillian allusion there, I'm hoping you'll know that the fighting has already begun in Central London.

Yes, Google has opened its first Apple Store. Well, not exactly an Apple Store, more of a Chromezone.

In taking this generation's version of "Beauty and the Beast" to the high street--or more accurately, London's Tottenham Court Road--Google is yet again creeping into territory many feel is dominated by Apple's temples of style.

However, the London Evening Standard offers that this little Chromezone is merely the beginning of retail encroachment on the part of Google.

CC Slgckgc/Flickr

It's not quite a fully fledged retail outlet. It's more of a pop-up within the highly square foot-focused confines of PC World. (The store, not the blog)

Its 285 square feet exist in order to sell Chromebooks and a few side items like headphones. Here are a few pictures of what it looks like: rather blue, rather shiny, and rather cramped.

The Standard quotes Google UK's Arvind Desikan as promising: "It is our first foray into physical retail. This is a new channel for us and it's still very, very early days. It's something Google is going to play with and see where it leads."

So, rather than an Apple Store, it's a Beta Store.

Desikan did reportedly reveal that the company's own research--Google does love its data--showed that 80 percent of those who buy laptops buy them through retail channels.

You might yourself be wondering what this sort of insight might have done for the launch of that lovely Nexus phone. For you, Desikan slipped in this beautiful truism: "We found anecdotally that when people tried the device and played with it, that made a huge difference to their understanding of what the Chromebook is all about."

They couldn't find numbers to prove that? Why not?

A second Chromezone will, apparently, open at a large shopping mall just outside London on October 7. Soon, perhaps, there will Chromezones all over the world, outside which strange people will camp in rapt expectation of a new Chromebook--or perhaps a Chrome browser update.

Google's search engine hasn't yet caught up with the electricity of this new retail onslaught. I just googled "Chromezone" and Google whispered: "Did you mean chromosome?"