Google store debuts in New York
Google opened its first retail store in New York City, highlighting the internet giant’s efforts to promote its consumer hardware devices.
The store, located in Manhattan’s trendy Chelsea neighborhood, opened last week, the Mountain View, Calif., Based company said in a blog post. The store, which is one block from Apple Inc.’s competitor store on 14th Street, occupies part of the first floor of Google’s New York City offices.
Google started experimenting with pop-up stores in 2016, the same year it launched its Pixel smartphone and Nest smart home speaker. In the years that followed, the company introduced a plethora of hardware devices and hosted subsequent pop-ups to learn more about what consumers expect from a retail store, said Jason Rosenthal, vice president of retail. Google direct channels and memberships.
“It’s like stepping into a dream,” said Ivy Ross, vice president of design, user experience and research for design and services, during a virtual tour. “I hope customers feel the same. I want them to be happy and inspired, like I’m here.”
Ross oversaw the planning of the store.
The store was designed as a social space, with seating areas, tables and other furniture that invite a level of privacy and public brewing that has been a rare experience during the covid-19 pandemic. The company said it will limit the number of people who can be in the store at a time and that associates as well as customers will have to wear masks inside.
Furniture, including oval-shaped sofas and tables, is blond wood and cork – neutral colors to make the products stand out, Ross said. The company also wanted customers to see what Google’s products would look like “in context”. Phones, tablets and other devices are operational and not connected, so that visitors can manipulate them.
Ross said there is a children’s room, to “park your kids while you do your shopping.” There is also a space where users can use the Night Sight feature of the Pixel phone to take pictures in the dark and email them to themselves. There is a room where three people can play video games via Google’s Stadia streaming service. And there’s the Imagination Space – partially enclosed by a 17-foot-high round glass structure, with screens inside. On screens, visitors can discover advanced or experimental Google services that may not yet be available to the public.
Rosenthal said it’s important for Google to create a direct retail channel that embodies the Google brand and allows customers to hear directly from the company, and gives Google customer feedback. He declined to say if the tech giant would open additional stores.