C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
Google has a new store in New York City. Although Google has experimented with pop-up stores in the past, it is calling this new facility its “first” store called the Google Store NYC. The store is on the first floor of the company’s New York headquarters on 9th Avenue. It was officially opened on June 17th.
Prior to opening, Google said the new store “will be a natural extension of our commitment to NYC and enable customers to interact with our range of devices and services in a practical way.” That includes his list of Pixel smartphones and Pixelbooks, as well as his Nest and Fitbit products.
Based on pictures from the Google Store (see our own photo tour here) there is a lot of bright light and lots of warm wood tones on the furniture. There are stations where you can try out Google products like Nest displays or thermostats, or try out Stadia games in your own room.
It’s all very … familiar.
If you think the new Google Store NYC bears an eerie resemblance to some Apple stores, you’re not far from it. Apple stores are known for their bright lights and wooden tables with plenty of equipment for hands-on experiences. Apple stores are also known for their “geniuses” that help people solve problems with their iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Product experts are also available in the Google Store to help owners of Google devices with their equipment. Apple Stores regularly host events designed to teach or otherwise help customers about the apps and features of their device. The Google store will also host events such as Storytime, YouTube Concerts, and Pixel Lessons.
And the situation is no coincidence. Granted, the Google Store is in the main Google building, but the address happens to be one block from a large Apple Store and across from popular tourist attractions Chelsea Market and High Line. It’s just a few blocks from the Samsung 837 Experience Center.
What is Google’s goal with this shop? It may be impossible to boost pixel sales.
Speaking of which, Samsung has its own place for experiences, but it’s closed for the moment due to the pandemic. The Samsung 837 Center is more of a function space than a product display, although products are still available for play.
So what is Google’s goal with this shop? It may be impossible to boost pixel sales. US consumers are most likely to buy a Pixel smartphone from a wireless operator, where the bulk of phone sales are still made. That means Google doesn’t expect consumers to queue at its door for the Pixel 6. (Though they might.) The same goes for devices like Nest Wi-Fi or other networking products that are more likely to be sold by Best Buy.
The entire exercise is a game about raising awareness, not necessarily about Google’s brand, but what its products can do together. The company said its goal is to help customers “see the best Google software and services come to life as they are used”.
The trick is that Google’s products don’t always work well together. In fact, sometimes it feels like they were designed in a silo. Let’s get into the idea of continuity for a second. In the Apple ecosystem, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS all play well together. Users can switch from iPhone to iPad to Mac seamlessly. The same is not true of Google’s ecosystem. Android phones and tablets hardly do anything seamless, nor do they actually speak to Chromebooks, except perhaps the Pixel phone’s ability to automatically wirelessly connect to the laptop and provide basic file sharing with Nearby Share. What exactly will Google present in its store?
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The Google Assistant and Nest are likely the best choices for the business. The integration of Assistant in selected Nest products brings the power of voice inquiries to all areas of the house. But that too can lead to problems. I have multiple Google Assistant devices in my house and every time I say “Hey Google” more than one of them is activated. Imagine saying that in a store full of devices equipped with the Google Assistant.
Will Google sell some products in the Google Store NYC? For sure. Will these sales move the needle in Google’s various hardware companies? No. Google says it’s about helping customers connect the dots between the Pixel, Nest, and other products in a way that Google deems useful. I just hope people don’t get lost on the broken path that sometimes doesn’t connect Google’s devices together.