Perhaps the most surprising thing about Google opening a retail store is that it’s taken this long to do it. For sure, it had few gadgets to sell in its early days, and maybe it’s been thinking hard about how to avoid the mistakes that felled Microsoft’s brick-and-mortar efforts, but now the company has finally decided to take the plunge.
The first-ever Google Store will open its doors at 15th and 9th in the Chelsea district of Manhattan, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 17.
As you’d expect, it all looks very stylish inside, at least according to a video posted by Google a day before the store’s opening. In fact, with hordes of curious customers about to burst through its doors, it’ll probably never look this good again.
Visitors to the Google Store will be able to try out the company’s full range of devices, from Pixel phones, Pixelbooks, and speakers to Nest devices, Fitbit wearables, and Stadia games.
Features include the Google Imagination Space, described as a “17-foot-tall circular glass structure with interactive screens” showcasing a variety of Google products and technologies. It’ll kick off with a Google Translate exhibit offering a real-time translation into 24 languages of any phrase you care to utter, before explaining how Translate’s artificial intelligence technology enables it to do this.
You’ll also find rooms that let you experience real-life scenarios using Google products — think demonstrations of Nest devices in a simulated living room, or a demo of Pixel’s latest camera features inside a custom light installation — and s0-called Discovery Boxes designed to “highlight the beauty form and features” of Google devices while also offering more information about each product.
Below: A gallery of images showing the interior of the new Google Store.
Rather like the Apple Store and its Genius staff, Google’s store includes a Here to Help support desk to assist with any Google-related issues you might have. The desk will also serve as a pick-up point for online orders and offer a range of repair services such as fixing cracked screens on Pixel phones.
Again, taking a leaf out of Apple’s book, the new store includes a special space for events and workshops that could include things like photography lessons on Pixel and YouTube concerts, Google said.
With a previously stated commitment to sustainability, Google promises that the materials used to build the store have been carefully sourced. It’s also keen to point out that the new store is one of fewer than 215 retail spaces in the world to have picked up a LEED Platinum rating, “the highest certification possible within the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system,” according to the company.
In the past, Google has experimented with pop-up stores, but its new Manhattan site looks very much as if it’s going to be sticking around. Having a retail store gives the company a chance to properly connect with customers, learning more about how they use its devices and what they’d like to see from it in the future. Google hasn’t said whether it plans to open more stores in the U.S. or globally. It’s safe to say the new store’s performance over the coming months will have a big influence on such a decision.
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