Google opens its first physical store in New York

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Google has offered a preview of its first physical retail store, which is due to open in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood on Thursday.

It’s billed as an Apple-style store to serve as a physical storefront for its Pixel phones, Chromebooks, and Nest gadgets, on sale.

It will be Google’s first permanent device, having previously only supported temporary “pop-up” stores, and will be based near its headquarters in New York.

The initial move was seen as somewhat surprising given that, unlike Apple, hardware only makes up a fraction of Google’s overall revenue, over 80% of which comes from digital advertising.

However, the store will also serve as a place for consumers to learn more about Google, its products and services, while also giving the tech giant a chance to understand its own users. The store will have areas for consumers to try out its devices and services and see how they work together, including dedicated areas for customers to test hardware features, such as the night mode feature on Pixel devices.

Stores will also offer after-sales support, such as screen repairs and tutorials, where users can make an appointment to learn more about their Google Account and services, such as ChromeOS or Gmail.

The sales counter and 'imagination space' at the Google Store in New York

There will also be a 17-foot glass structure, described as an “imaginative space,” which will serve as an exhibition area for future technological innovations. It will start with a Google Translate experience created by a Japanese artist, where customers can whisper a sentence and have it read back in 24 different languages.

Google’s approach is similar to that of Microsoft, which opened its first retail space in the United States in 2009 and would eventually open a total of 116 stores worldwide. Its first UK retail space opened at Oxford Circus in London in 2019, featuring a 21,932 square foot store with free floors of “interactive space” where customers could test and experience the equipment. and Microsoft services.

However, in June 2020, Microsoft announced that it would close all of its physical stores once the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were lifted. He also announced that four stores in London, New York, Redmond and Sydney would remain open as “experience centers”.

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