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Google goes retail in PC World

Google's Chrome Store appears to have given the advertising giant a taste for retail: the company's first entry into bricks and mortar retail has popped up, courtesy of a partnership with PC World.

While we're still trying to tie down the details, 3D designer Mike Harris was kind enough to send us the following images of a somewhat Chrome-themed corner of the PC World shop in Tottenham Court Road.

Google is clearly channelling Apple here: its products - namely variations on the you'd-better-have-a-net-connection Chromebook semi-laptop - are laid out in a way that encourages buyers to have a poke around, while the minimalist decoration contains plenty of instances of the Chrome logo.

The new installation appears to have been drawing interest, with customers poking the display models and most likely wondering where this Air thing that they keep hearing about can be found.

What is perhaps most surprising, however, is that there isn't a single non-Chromebook device to be found. Although Google is hoping to push its Chrome OS operating system into the mainstream as a companion device, its Android platform is significantly more successful - but there isn't a smartphone to be seen.

Clearly, Google isn't leaving the potential success of the Chromebook concept up to its hardware partners. We're currently attempting to ascertain precisely what the deal is - whether it's a one-off experiment, a partnership that will extend to other PC World shops, or just something PC World itself is doing without Google's direct involvement - and will let you know what we find.