Google is opening six temporary stores around the United States to showcase its latest high-tech gadgets, just in time for the Christmas holiday season.
The stores will be filled with Nexus 7 tablets, the latest Chromebooks, the Chromecast video dongle and more so that shoppers can check out the products and place online orders on the spot, according to a special Winter Wonderlab Website set up by Google.
"Play, Create, Chill," the company tells shoppers on the site. "This holiday season, you're invited to the Winter Wonderlab presented by Google. Check out new gadgets like the Nexus 7, make a slow motion video in the giant snow globe, or just escape the holiday hustle with endless games,
music, and videos."
The site is a "fun and interactive way for the public to experience all of Google’s gadgets," a spokesman said.
The special shopping areas are slated for six locations:
--New York City's Bryant Park, 41 W. 40th St., where the city hosts its annual holiday Winter Village (the store will be open from Nov. 16 through Dec. 22);
--Annapolis, Md., near Washington D.C., at the Westfield Annapolis mall, first level, West Atrium near Crate & Barrel and Adidas;
--Aurora, Ill., near Chicago, on the first level of the Westfield Fox Valley mall in Center Court near Victoria's Secret;
--Canoga Park, Calif., near Los Angeles, at the Westfield Topanga mall, first level, in the Sears Court near the Cheesecake Factory;
--Paramus, N.J., at Westfield Garden State Plaza in the first level in the Lord & Taylor Court near Ann Taylor Loft; and
--Roseville, Calif., near Sacramento, at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville, in the first level in the Sears Court near The Body Shop.
Also featured are human-sized snow globes (where visitors can be photographed inside with their friends), according to Google. Participants can also create slow-motion videos that they can store and take with them for free.
All of the products featured in the Winter Wonderlabs will be available for ordering online right in the temporary stores, which appear to be metal-framed tents with lockable doors and other facilities.
The stores were rumored in February 2013, according to a report at that time by 9to5google.com.
"An extremely reliable source has confirmed to us that Google is in the process of building stand-alone retail stores in the U.S. and hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas," the post reported. "The mission of the stores is to get new Google Nexus, Chrome, and especially upcoming products into the hands of prospective customers. Google feels right now that many potential customers need to get hands-on experience with its products before they are willing to purchase. Google competitors Apple and Microsoft both have retail outlets where customers can try before they buy."
The stores, which will certainly compete with Apple retail stores and traditional electronics retailers such as Best Buy and h.h.gregg, will allow Google to feature its own products without any distractions. Google does already sell some of its products, such as Chromebooks and Android phones and tablets, inside many Best Buy stores across the nation and on the BestBuy.com Website. Apple, one of Google's key competitors, has a successful history running its own chain of stores to sell its own products.