Google’s new hardware is getting a Google-owned physical retail experience – temporarily. The search giant is opening a popup shop in Google at 96 Sprint St. in New York beginning on October 20 called “Made by Google.” This is the same tagline the tech titan uses to market its own-brand hardware, which now includes the new PIxel, Pixel XL, Daydream View, Google Home and Google Wifi.
The plans to provide a physical location to check out the new hardware isn’t a brand new thing for Google; the company has dabbled in retail via store-within-a-store pilots similar to the way Apple operates shops within Best Buy locations, for instance. But it’s perhaps more interesting because of Google’s stated new focus on the full stack of being a hardware business, which includes the retail experience, according to a Google rep I spoke to at the company’s launch event earlier this week.
What might be more interesting are the potential future implications of the very existence of this site, and the popup.withgoogle.com domain itself. Visiting the URL shows you a “Visit Us” tab menu listing that isn’t available at the core Made by Google website just yet, and the use of “nyc” as the web address terminator suggests other cities might soon join the list.
If Google really wants to take an Apple-style, vertically integrated approach to creating devices that combine the best of hardware and software, it also has to put focus on customer experience, and retail is a big part of that for the iPhone maker. Pop-up shops could definitely help it see what the in-person experience adds to customer perception of Pixel and beyond.