New York City is now home to Google’s first permanent physical store, and it’ll be open for business on Thursday, June 17. Though the company has hosted multiple pop-up stores in the past, now customers will have a place to call Google Home.
Google first shared the good news in May, citing that the location—based near its Chelsea campus a couple of blocks away—would be a one-stop shop for scooping up its latest gadgets, like Pixel smartphones, Nest products, and Chromecast devices. The new store is located at 76 Ninth Avenue, and scheduled to open up at 10am ET on Thursday, June 17.
Before it opens up, let’s take a peek inside:
A recent blog post written by Ivy Ross, VP of Hardware Design, and Nathan Allen, Head of Store Design and Special Projects, states “We wanted our first store to reflect the same approach we take to designing our products: making sure they’re always helpful to people. The result is a space we believe is warm and inviting, while providing new ways to celebrate and experience Google through our phones, displays, speakers, wearables and more.”
Google worked with NYC-based architect Reddymade to draft a concept for the space, which, as you can see, blends the company’s quirky and playful style while still remaining uniquely New York. The space feels open and immersive, and also encourages browsing. And once you find something you like, just reach out to any store associate—they will all be equipped with a device that can process transactions right there so you don’t have to stand at a checkout counter.
Ross and Allen also stated “As you approach our new store, the first thing we hope you notice are beautiful physical and digital displays lining the store’s windows, which offer a peek into our products and their features. And as you enter the store, you will find a light-filled space that’s centered around experiencing the helpfulness of our products.”
While it was designing the store, Google also worked to integrate sustainability just like it does with its products. As such, every bit of material was verified to be responsibly sourced and energy efficient. Plus, Google worked with local craftsmen throughout the process. The company also worked with the U.S. Green Building Council, and now the store is one of just 215 retail spaces across the globe with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating, the highest possible within the LEED’s rating system.
Inside the store, customers just walking in will be greeted by a 17-foot tall glass structure called the Google Imagination Space. It’s loaded with custom interactive screens with rotating exhibits that’ll help users learn about Google’s artillery of products and how they work. The cool feature can also translate, in real-time, anything you say into 24 languages at the same time, which has got to be cool to hear.
As you walk around the store, Google also encourages hands-on interaction with the products. The store also features a “Here to Help” desk where you can go if you need help with your device. It can also offer repairs for things like cracked screens while you wait. You can also drop off products for more intensive repairs.
Jason Rosenthal, VP of Direct Channels and Membership said “Our aspiration is to really do as much same-day and in-store as possible.” However, customers can also schedule appointments to drop off a product for repairs, and it will give you an estimate for when you can pick it up.
Google added multiple awesome Sandboxes and Discovery Boxes within the space. The Sandboxes are mostly small nooks where you can interact with various products. The Stadia Sandbox, for example, features a giant Stadia logo and chairs in matching colors along with a slew of TVs you can play a video game on. You can also easily move a game from the demo device to your phone.
There’s also the Pixel Sandbox, which lets you explore the Pixel’s latest camera features with a custom light installation, allowing you to take some gorgeous Night Sight photos (and, obviously, it’s also begging for some Instagram shots). There’s also a sandbox with a simulated living room and a window mimicking the passing days and seasons. It features a projector beam above the coffee table that shows you how to interact with the devices in there.
Google also allocated some extra space in the store for Workshops, and eventually hopes to host all kinds of regular events like family story time, Nest cooking demos, YouTube concerts, and Pixel photography lessons.
Overall, the store looks interesting and lively. And, of course, for the time being, Google is still adhering to policies and procedures for COVID-19, and said they will “evolve in accordance with local, state and national guidelines,” and that the stores will “at least initially (be) limiting the number of customers in the store at a time.”