Google announces its first-ever physical retail store

Illustration of a high-end store on the ground floor of a multistory brick building.

Enlarge / Google’s mockup of its retail store. (credit: Google)

In a new blog post, Google announced its “first-ever physical retail store” will launch this summer in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The company says the “Google Store” will feature the predictable assortment of Google hardware like Pixel phones, Nest devices, Fitbits, and everything else the company makes, along with repairs, workshops, and tech support.

If you’re thinking “There’s no way this is Google’s first-ever physical retail store!” Google’s statement is a reference to a permanent, freestanding store. The company regularly does temporary, seasonal “pop-up” stores all the time around the holidays, and it has a small brand store inside of Best Buys in the US as well as similar deals with other stores worldwide, like a larger store inside Curry’s PC World in London.

By our count, this is Google’s fourth attempt at a freestanding, permanent retail location. Who could forget the first attempt, the Google Barges, a fleet of container ships that Google secretly purchased starting in 2010 in order to create floating retail showrooms that would presumably travel the world while pitching futuristic products like Google Glass. (What a time that was!) By 2014, regulators had gotten wind of Google’s plan, and fire-safety concerns torpedoed the project.

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