Rumors of Google retail store resurface, but no launch date in sight

Apple's trademarked Apple Store layout. | Source: USPTO

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A rumor that Google is investigating opening physical retail outlets to compete with the Apple Store has resurfaced, though sources say the internet giant may not move forward with the initiative until 2014.

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that the internet search giant is developing plans to build brick-and-mortar outlets at which a variety of Google-branded products like the Nexus 7 will likely be sold. Also thought to be carried at the rumored stores are devices running the Android and Chrome operating systems.

While the study of Apple's retail business continues, Google's own stores may not open their doors until next year, one source said. These people also noted that the move into retail has been discussed for some time as devices running the company's Android mobile operating system become more dominant worldwide.

The Mountain View, Calif., company is not alone in trying to replicate the Apple Store's success, as software giant Microsoft opened its own store in 2009. Although the stores are modeled after the open-space layout of Apple's outlets, the Windows-centric shops have yet to draw the same kind of foot traffic. A comparison between the two stores from November found the Apple Store to have sold about five times as many items per hour than the Microsoft Store over Black Friday.

More recently, Apple was awarded a trademark for the Apple Store's design and layout, covering the distinctive all-glass storefront and facade, interior recessed lighting, Genius Bar and rectangular tables, among other design cues.