Fresh off its October 4 hardware announcement, Google broke the news that it’s opening up a pop-up store in Manhattan. The Google pop-up shop will open in conjunction with the release of the company’s hotly anticipated new hardware products, including its first phone–the Pixel–and its Amazon Echo competitor–Google Home.
Google has dabbled in hardware before with products like the Chromebook and its ill-fated Google Glass. These and other ventures–some very successful and others not–were sometimes promoted with pop-up shops. What’s different about this time?
In terms of the products, the Pixel is the most exciting, as it’s the first phone completely made by Google itself. Google Home is notable because it’s another competitor to Amazon’s pioneering home assistant, and is made by a company that has mastered data (sorry, Alfie).
This leads us into the other thrilling facet of the Google pop-up shop–we’re witnessing an internet emperor move into physical goods and brick and mortar. Consequently, this could be the start of something very exciting and boundary-breaking for tech and retail, or Google might be beaten back online. Additionally, since they’re launching new products and not just revamping old favorites, it makes sense to get customers used to these new offerings by showing them off in stores. After all, it’d take a lot of faith in a brand to buy a $650 phone online without trying it.
Pretty much all commentators are lining up the Google versus Apple comparisons at this point. After all, Google’s new focus is on being a vertically integrated hardware business, much like the home of the iPhone. Apple proudly recognizes that differentiated in-store experiences command profits, and the Google pop-up shop experiment is sure to strive to reach that bar.
TechCrunch notes that it seems probable that the Google pop-up shop might move to a new location at some point, or will be replicated in different cities. Analysts also speculate that it’ll remain open through the holidays. This is a relatively unknown space for Google, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on their journey over the next few months!
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