Google to Open Bodily Retailer in New York

Five years ago, Google started making its own smartphones and voice-assisted speakers. Now Google has a store where they can sell them.

The company will open its first physical store on the first floor of its Manhattan headquarters in the Chelsea neighborhood on Thursday. The store will carry a full line of Google gadgets, including Pixel smartphones, Nest home devices, and Fitbit’s wearable fitness products, the company said.

Inside, buyers can try out devices and subscription services, while existing customers can have defective products repaired on site. The 5,000-square-foot store will include spaces where customers can experience “real-world scenarios” where Google products can be useful, the company said.

Some non-Google and Google branded products, such as t-shirts, hats, and dog toys, are also 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 has opened in recent years.

Since Google started selling Google branded smartphones in 2016, it has expanded the type of devices it sells. It also acquired Fitbit and incorporated Nest, a manufacturer of devices such as thermostats. Nest was a separate subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Even though Google has invested heavily in hardware, it is still a sideline to the company’s main advertising arm and its fast-growing cloud computing unit. Google did not want to comment on whether more deals are planned.

The track record of tech companies opening retail stores has been mixed. Apple’s stores stand out as a huge success, highlight the brand and provide a showcase for new products. Microsoft, on the other hand, said it closed all of its stores last year, more than a decade after it started opening retail stores to reinforce its own foray into hardware.

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