After years of pop-up experiments, Google is finally dipping its toes in the physical retail waters with its first store, located underneath its offices in the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City. It will primarily feature Google’s own hardware products, including Pixel phones, Nest smarthome gadgets, Fitbits, and assorted other devices. There will also be a selection of third party accessories and Google-branded swag like hats or T-shirts.
Google characterizes this as its “first” store, but in a call with press yesterday declined to say when, where, or even whether other stores could open. Presumably one might, but it’s no sure thing. The retail space here is a relatively small way for Google to get into physical stores, not a big splashy entrance into competing with Apple Stores. Microsoft closed all of its retail stores last July amid the pandemic.
The Google Store is designed more like a show room (or a brand activation experience) than a retail space intended to move lots of product. There are stools and chairs scattered throughout the main space as well as rooms that Google calls “sandboxes” with product-specific experiences. In one room, customers will go through a little skit of using a Nest hub to answer the door for a delivery person, complete with haptics in the couch to simulate a knock on the door. The room for Pixel phones will showcase their low-light photography feature.
Google's New York City store is part retail site, part 'exploratorium'
The search giant will open its first-ever retail store Thursday, as it tries to capture some of Apple's success in retail.
The Exploratorium is a museum of science, technology, and arts in San Francisco. Characterized as "a mad scientist's penny arcade, a scientific funhouse, and an experimental laboratory all rolled into ...