In a new blog post, Google announced that its “first brick-and-mortar store” will launch this summer in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. The company says the “Google Store” will feature the predictable range of Google hardware such as Pixel phones, Nest devices, Fitbits, and anything else the company makes, along with repairs, workshops, and tech support.
If you’re thinking, “This is definitely not Google’s very first brick and mortar store!” Google’s statement is a reference to a permanent, freestanding store. The company regularly runs temporary, seasonal “pop-up” stores around the holidays, and it has a small branded store in Best Buys in the US, as well as similar deals with other stores around the world, such as a larger store in 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 bought starting in 2010 to create floating showrooms that would presumably travel the world while launching futuristic products like Google Glass. (What a time that was!) By 2014, regulators had caught wind of Google’s plan, and fire safety concerns torpedoed the project.
In 2015, we heard about plans for a “flagship” store, this time in NYC’s SoHo district (a little south of its current location). Google rented a 5,000-square-foot space and reportedly spent $6 million renovating the building before mysteriously walking away from the project and deciding to sublet the building.
Attempt #3 was in Chicago in 2018, where the Chicago Tribune said Google is planning a flagship retail space in the Fulton Market district. Eight months later, a follow-up report said, “Google stopped planning late in the leasing process.”
Google’s previous store attempts have not taken off, but with an official announcement, this New York City store has moved beyond all those other “rumored” stores over the years. New York was the first place Google expanded after California, beginning in 2000, and today the city is home to Google’s largest campus outside of its headquarters in Mountain View. Next to the Manhattan headquarters at 111 8th Ave. In 2018, the company bought the Chelsea Market building (a famous shopping center/food court) for $2.4 billion and announced an expansion into Hudson Square. This new Google Store would be located in the middle of the Google NYC Campus.