Google has been in the news a lot this week, releasing the Chromebook Pixel and giving the World a sneak peak at Glass. Couple these with persistent rumors about Google retail stores, and you have an interesting trail of breadcrumbs leading into Google IO.
The Pixel is a head-scratcher. The Verge has one of the better reviews, especially with respect to the construction aspects, and if you factor in a retail angle, Google seems to be trying to establish itself as a premium brand, Glass, Pixel, Nexus devices, which adds to the caché of its ancillary services and growing selection of hardware.
The Pixel’s cost is very high, given what it does, but that might be enough to get consumers (and enterprises) in the door to buy something else. Glass is similar, at least in cost, and it’s definitely sexy enough to draw people into Google stores.
Techcrunch makes the point that the average consumer will absolutely want to test drive Google’s devices before buying. Even if they don’t buy, stores bring physical presence to Google, which is historically a virtual brand, something you use, but can’t really touch.
So, while the Pixel seems odd, it does feel like a halo play for Google’s online empire and for the Google brand, which will gain momentum when Glass releases. The Pixel may not move a lot of units, but it might get people to buy into the Chromebook philosophy and buy one of the lower cost models.
I read an interesting post about how Google is killing the Android brand. This makes sense from a branding perspective, differentiating Google’s Nexus devices from the right-wrong-indifferent view of Android as a low-cost alternative to the iFamily.
All this makes sense when taken as a whole, and I’m reminded of a debate Justin (@kestelyn) had about Google years ago. Google isn’t just an advertising and search company. They have much bigger aspirations, and I’m intrigued to watch how they evolve.
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