Google is finally opening a one-stop retail location for its massive catalog of phones, streaming devices, smart home gadgets, and other hardware. Located in NYC near the company’s Chelsea campus, the aptly-named Google Store opens to the public sometime this summer.
The Chelsea Google Store will be the company’s first-ever freestanding retail location. But it isn’t Google’s first attempt at a store. Google dumped $6 million into an unannounced Soho retail space before scrapping the idea in 2015, and years before that, the company tried to make an “interactive” store out of maritime barges (the idea fell apart before it was announced, likely due to to the safety concerns associated with running a store on a boat).
Google has also run several pop-up locations and kiosks over the years, including one called the ChromeZone, which might be the funniest trademark that Google has ever swept under the rug. These short-run retail locations were more of a novelty than a serious attempt to compete with the Apple Store and now non-existent Microsoft Store.
While we don’t know the upcoming Google Store’s layout, we imagine that it will look similar to a Best Buy or Apple Store. Google confirms that they will have experts on hand to help sell, repair, and troubleshoot devices, and the store will run how-to workshops throughout the year to help customers familiarize themselves with smart home gadgets and other products.
When the Google Store opens this summer, it will enforce a set of health and safety standards to protect customers and employees. Masks, hand sanitation, and social distancing will be required, and the store will limit the number of customers that can be inside at a time. Curb-side pickup will also be offered for those who don’t want to enter the store.