Google is close to opening its first-ever physical store.
The company plans on opening the retail outlet this summer in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. It’s poised to be similar to an Apple Store by offering a space where you can try out Google hardware products in-person.
“At the Google Store, customers will be able to browse and buy an extensive selection of products made by Google, ranging from Pixel phones to Nest products, Fitbit devices to Pixelbooks and more,” the company said in Thursday’s announcement.
The store will also be a destination where customers can pick up orders made on the company’s online store. In addition, the store will offer product repairs, troubleshooting help, and “how-to workshops,” which will be hosted throughout the year.
Google said it chose Manhattan for the store because it already has a company campus in the Chelsea area; in 2018, it spent more than $2 billion to acquire Chelsea Market. The company also hinted it could build more retail locations if the first store is a success.
“We look forward to meeting many of our customers and hearing their feedback on the store, so we can continue to explore and experiment with the possibilities of a physical retail space and build upon the experience,” Google said.
The company also designed the New York store with COVID-19 in mind. “Masks, hand sanitation and social distancing will be required in the Google Store, and we’ll clean all spaces multiple times a day,” it said. “The number of guests inside will be limited to ensure our customers feel safe during their shopping experience, and easy pickup options will also be available.”
Several years ago, Google created temporary “pop-up” shops in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, enabling local customers to try out Google products. It also had several stores-within-stores abroad, including one inside a Currys PC World in London’s Tottenham Court Road. Google also has some short-lived try-on and pickup locations for Google Glass in 2014; remember the mysterious San Francisco barge?
In 2018, the Chicago Tribune reported Google was considering creating its first physical store in the city, but the company later backed out of the deal.
The news comes as Apple celebrates 20 years of its retail stores. “Each time I visit one of our stores around the world, I feel the special energy of our teams, the creativity of our customers and how our products empower them to change the world. Here’s to the next 20 years!” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted this week.
Microsoft also tried its hand at physical stores, opening a flagship shop on New York’s Fifth Ave in 2015, just up the street from Apple’s own flagship “cube” storefront. It would go on to open more than 100 stores, but the pandemic prompted Microsoft to shut down all but four of its retail locations last summer. Stores in London, New York City, Sydney, and on the Redmond campus were converted into Microsoft Experience Centers.