It sold out way quicker than that. I tried to purchase it right away, had a phone in my cart, then when I went to checkout, it was gone and said Coming Soon. This was within the first 10 minutes of the phone going on sale.
UPDATE: The store is back up. 16gb appear to be sold out, but I just successfully purchased an 8gb model.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I just bought the 16gb model successfully as well. Both orders show as pending in my Google Wallet account.
Bought the 16GB successsfully. Took 2 mins. I believe the 'Sold Out' news in the morning drove more customers curiously to the Google Play website, thus letting them buy it today even if they wanted to wait. No one wants a supply issue like the iPhone 5. As I thought, Google is way smarter than Apple to be prepared for high volume sales on it's platform.
I don't think this was well played by Google or intentional at all. The Google Play website is still down. Tarnishing your brand in front of current and potential customers just to try out a guerrilla marketing tactic is just plain stupid.
A much better tactic would be to have a site that's up, responsive and presents a simple, joyful order process. That would win evangelists. People could point to the Nexus 4 launch and say, "Look everybody! When Google launches a phone, they do it right. It was a painless, awesome experience."
That is the complete opposite of the Nexus 4 launch we experienced today. Google bungled it big time (and I say that both as a consumer as well as an owner of Google stock).
When people hear about the struggle to get one of these phones they get curious. I clicked like crazy to and luckily bought two phones... I have to say I look now a bit more forward to them because they took effort to get. This kind of stuff works for most human minds.
I had a similar experience. I was refreshing the page at 8:30-8:40 and when it finally gave me "add to cart" I spent about 10-15 minutes trying to get through until finally got sent back to "coming soon". It was very fast.
I understand possibly wanting marketing hype from selling out quickly, but the cryptic error messages and lack of performance on the server (from arguably the biggest internet company in the world) was disappointing.
I've got a script checking the site, and it's been back to "Add to Cart" a couple times since it was initially down, though I've never been able to buy it. I have a suspicion that Google hasn't sold out, but the site is just melting, so they are only allowing purchases periodically.