Perhaps the most surprising thing about opening a Google retail store is that it took so long to do so. Sure, the company had few gadgets to sell in the beginning, and it may have thought long and hard about how to avoid the mistakes that have ruined Microsoft’s retail efforts, but now the company has finally decided to go for it.
The first-ever Google Store will open its doors on the corner of 15th and 9th Streets in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 17.
As you might expect, everything inside looks very classy, at least according to a video Google posted the day before the store opened. In fact, with hordes of curious shoppers about to burst through the doors, the store will probably never look this good again.
Visitors to the Google Store will be able to try out the company’s entire range of devices, from Pixel phones, Pixel laptops and speakers to Nest devices, Fitbit wearables and Stadia games.
Among the features is the Google Imagination Space, described as “a 17-foot-tall circular glass structure with interactive screens,” showcasing various Google products and technologies. The exhibit will begin with Google Translate, offering real-time translation in 24 languages of any phrase you want to say, and then explaining how Translate’s artificial intelligence technology allows you to do so.
You’ll also find rooms allowing you to experience real-world scenarios using Google products – like a demonstration of Nest devices in a simulated living room or the latest Pixel camera features in a custom light installation – and so-called Discovery Boxes designed to “highlight the beauty of the shapes and features” of Google devices, and provide more information about each product.
Below: A gallery of images showing the interior of the new Google Store.
Like the Apple Store with its Genius staff, the Google Store has a Here to Help help desk for any Google-related questions. The desk will also serve as an online order entry point and offer a number of repair services, such as fixing cracked Pixel phone screens.
Again, taking its cue from Apple, the new store includes a dedicated space for events and workshops, which could include such things as Pixel photography lessons and YouTube concerts, Google said.
Having previously stated its commitment to sustainability, Google promises that the materials used to build the store have been carefully selected. The company also emphasizes that the new store is one of fewer than 215 retail spaces in the world to receive a LEED Platinum rating, “the highest certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system,” according to the company.
Google has experimented with pop-up stores in the past, but the new Manhattan store looks like it’s going to stay there. Having a retail store gives the company a chance to make the right contact with customers, learn more about how they use their devices and what they’d like to see from them in the future. Google hasn’t said whether it plans to open new stores in the U.S. or around the world. It’s safe to say that the results of the new store in the coming months will have a big impact on that decision.