Five years ago, Google started making its own smartphones and voice-enabled speakers. Now, Google has a store to sell them.
The company will open its first physical store on Thursday on the ground floor of its Manhattan headquarters in the Chelsea neighborhood. The store will carry the full range of Google gadgets, including Pixel smartphones, Nest home devices, and Fitbit wearable fitness products, the company said.
Inside, buyers can try subscription services and devices, while existing customers can get on-site repair of broken products. The 5,000-square-foot store, the company said, will include rooms where customers can experience “real-life scenarios” in which Google products could be useful.
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 an opportunity to its fledgling hardware division and an extension of the pop-up stores the company has opened over the past few years.
Since Google started selling Google-branded smartphones in 2016, it has expanded the range of devices it sells. It also acquired Fitbit and built-in Nest, a maker of devices like thermostats. Nest used to be a separate subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
Although Google has invested heavily in its hardware division, it remains largely behind the company’s main advertising division and its fast-growing cloud computing division. Google would not comment on whether it plans to open more stores.
The track record of tech companies that have opened retail stores is mixed. Apple Stores stand out as a huge success, elevating the brand and providing 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 ramp up its own hardware push.