Five years ago, Google began making its own voice-assisted smartphones and speakers. Now, Google has a store to sell them.
The company plans to open its first physical store Thursday on the ground floor of its Manhattan headquarters in the Chelsea neighborhood. The store will feature a full range of Google devices, including Pixel smartphones, Nest home devices and Fitbit wearable fitness products, the company said.
Inside, buyers can test subscription devices and services, while existing customers can get on-site repairs for damaged 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 equipment 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 chance and an extension of the pop-up stores the company opened in recent years.
Since Google began selling Google-branded smartphones in 2016, it has expanded the types of devices it sells. It 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 remains an afterthought for the company’s main advertising arm and its fast-growing cloud computing unit. Google declined to comment on whether it had plans to open more stores.
The trajectory of technology companies that have opened retail stores is mixed. Apple stores stand out as a great success, elevating the brand and offering a showcase of new products. Microsoft, on the other hand, said it closed all of its stores last year, more than a decade after it began opening retail stores to increase its own push toward hardware.