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Google to open its first retail store to sell devices

Almost exactly 20 years to the day after Apple opened its first retail store, Google is finally following suit.

The company announced Thursday that it is opening its first physical retail store, called Google Store, this summer in New York City. The store will be located under its offices in the Chelsea neighborhood, where it employs many of its more than 11,000 employees in the city.

Some of the items for sale will include Pixel phones, Nest products, Fitbit devices and Pixelbooks.

Similar to Apple’s Genius Bar concept, Google will employ “experts” to help customers troubleshoot issues, fix a cracked Pixel screen or help with installations. In a blog post, the company called it “an important next step in our hardware journey.”

“Many customers still want to experience hardware before they buy it — and learn what it feels like, sounds like and looks like in their hand or on a desk,” it added.

Google has previously said its hardware sales are a “multi-billion dollar business,” but the company still does not break out sales data for its hardware products.

Over the years, the company has opened temporary Google hardware shops in cities including New York, Chicago and London, allowing people to see how products work, attend workshops and make purchases. Some of Google’s previous pop-up locations have infused fun, interactive touches, such as a doodle wall and a Pac-Man game displayed on a big screen.

Google has otherwise relied on its website and other retailers, such as Best Buy and Amazon, to sell its products. While Apple has seen success opening retail stores around the world, others have struggled. Microsoft expanded its retail efforts over the years by creating destination stores where people could try services, software and hardware, but last summer the company announced it was shutting down all of its 83 Microsoft Store locations to focus more on selling its products online.

Google’s new permanent New York City location will be just a few blocks away from an Apple Store.

Article Topic Follows: Technology

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