Google has been in the hardware game for some time now, but it has yet to establish a physical presence in retail to compete with Apple outside of a handful of pop-up stores. That changes tomorrow, as the company is finally opening its first storefront in New York City. If you've been looking to pick up a brand-new Pixel phone — or just a Google-branded basketball — all you'll need to do is head to Chelsea.
Google's range of physical hardware products is expanding more and more every year. Isn't it time that the company expanded beyond a few Best Buy shelf displays and started making its own stores? Someone at Google thinks so, because the first branded store is opening this summer. The Google Store (catchy) will be located in Chelsea, New York City, in the Port Authority Commerce Building at 111 Eighth Avenue.
YouTube already makes money through advertisements, YouTube Premium (to get rid of said advertisements), and memberships to specific channels. It looks like the company might be preparing to add general shopping functionality to the list, according to an announcement in YouTube's test features and experimentshub.
The United States is in lockdown for the foreseeable future as officials and health experts hope to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as much as possible. Landline and wireless service providers have pledged to keep service on for all customers over the next 2 months as employment becomes a tenuous proposition for many in this period of isolation. But for those who drop off their payments at a store or for anyone with an immediate need to purchase a phone at this time, you should know that Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon either have or are going to temporarily close a number of their stores.
Stadia launched in what what most would consider a very unfinished state, missing many plenty of the announced features like family sharing and broadcasting, or with very rushed and incomplete features like screenshots or a game store. Shopping for games initially required the smartphone app, but the store launched on the web last week, opening the door to a more convenient shopping experience. It also reveals a bit more about some of the marketing and categorization we'll see as the Stadia catalog fills out.
According to a recent blog post by the Google Retail Team, two new pop-up retail shops will be opened in New York City and Chicago, starting October 18th. The shops will last through December 31st, giving you a bit over two months minimum to check out Google's hardware in a "fully Google-made experiential space."
Google's most frequent corporate comparison is Apple, but one significant difference between the two tech titans is their differing retail presence. Although Google has occasionally had pop-up stores and some limited existence inside other retailers like Best Buy and Curry's, it's never had its own dedicated retail stores—though it was previously rumored to be working on a set in India. But, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune, Google may be close to finalizing a lease alleged to be used for a new retail flagship in Chicago's Fulton Market district.
Amazon's getting ready to open up its checkout-free Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle tomorrow on January 22nd, and the corresponding app has just hit Google Play. Advertising "Just Walk Out Shopping," the new Amazon Go store uses sensors and cameras to keep track of which items you take, charging your Amazon account for whatever you bring out of the store. Basically, it's shopping, but without the tedious process of a manual checkout.
Google's hardware has always been difficult to purchase, if you happen to live outside of a handful of countries. The original Pixels were only sold by Google in six regions - Australia, Canada, Germany, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, and the United States. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL were originally limited to those regions as well, but now the XL is expanding to Italy and Spain.
Puerto Rico, despite being a territory of the United States, is often treated as a separate country by businesses. Puerto Rican residents could order from the US Google Store, but now Google has created a separate Store just for the island itself.