Five years ago, Google started making its own smartphones and voice-assisted speakers. Now, Google has a store to sell them in.
The company is set to open its first-ever physical store on Thursday on the ground floor of its Manhattan headquarters in the Chelsea neighborhood. The store will carry a full array of Google’s gadgets, including Pixel smartphones, Nest home devices and Fitbit’s wearable fitness products, the company said.
Inside, shoppers can try out devices and subscription services, while existing customers can get on-site repairs of broken products. The 5,000-square-foot store will include rooms where customers can experience “real-life scenarios” in which Google products can be useful, the company said.
Some non-Google products and Google-branded gear, such as T-shirts, hats and dog toys, will also be sold.
The store is Google’s latest attempt to give its fledgling hardware division a shot in the arm and an extension of pop-up stores that the company opened in the last few years.
Since Google started selling Google-branded smartphones in 2016, it has expanded the kinds of devices it sells. It has also acquired Fitbit and integrated Nest, a maker of devices like thermostats. Nest had been a separate subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
Although Google has invested heavily in the hardware division, it is still an afterthought to the company’s main advertising arm and its fast-growing cloud computing unit. Google would not comment on whether it had plans to open more stores.
The track record of technology companies that have opened retail stores is mixed. Apple’s stores stand out as a major success, elevating the brand and offering a showcase for new products. Microsoft, on the other hand, said it was shuttering all of its stores last year, more than a decade after it started opening retail outlets to augment its own push into hardware.