We have gone to the Google Store in New York. To say that it is a copy of the Apple Store would be unfair

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Not many moons ago, barely a year, since Google opened its first physical store in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, after short-lived experiments with stores for Christmas campaigns and the like. From Alphabet we know that its profits from the direct sale of hardware are little more than a rounding error in its annual balance, but also that in recent times the importance of design and the ecosystem vision has risen a couple of steps compared to the previous tonic, and that is exactly what this store that we have been able to visit distills: obsession with refining the design and persistence with the ecosystem proposal.

The Mountain View company fights for a better story. For achieving a transcendence in the direct experience of the consumer that its figures still do not show. Android is the most used operating system in the world, and YouTube and Gmail are leading the way, but something is still missing. And that’s why projects like this go.

From the Google Store It could be said that it is clearly inspired by the design of an Apple Store, but that would be unfair, it would be an understatement.: beyond using wood in similar tones and arranging the products in a way that Apple validated and the rest took for granted, it has several points in which the differences with the Apple Store are notable. Because power, like movement, is demonstrated by walking.

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nordic home

An example of those differences that make it unique are the rooms. The central area of ​​the Google Store recreates a home in a certain way. With the door frame, the ‘Welcome’ mat, or the dresser in the living room next to a television and in front of a sofa. The idea is project products designed for the home in rooms where they make sense. Thus, we see a Stadia controller on the table in the living room, Nest thermostats on the walls, several Nest Hubs scattered around the furniture, etc. Next to the living room space there is a kind of kitchen so avant-garde that it is difficult to recognize it as such,

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Access from the store entrance to the demo area set in a home.

And from simulated rooms to dedicated rooms. The Google Store It has closed rooms specifically focused on the customer being able to feel the best possible experience of a specific product.. Although in some cases, with a bittersweet taste, as in the Stadia room: although it is designed to demonstrate the ability to move from one screen to another while maintaining the game session, the title chosen to appear by default and offer a test was FIFA 21, when the 22 is already reaching the end of its useful life. The other experiential rooms were for the Pixel camera, ubiquitous in the store, and Nest thermostats.

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A notable similarity to the Apple Store: one end of the store is filled with stools in an arrangement very reminiscent of them, and there is also a children’s area in the center with very low tables and chairs in a very similar style. And a difference: while the Apple Store opts for a cold and elegant minimalism, Google’s vocation is to create a warm and welcoming space. There is a surprising use of cork, which takes us back to Portugal, for furniture in the store, including sofas and chairs, which provides a touch of distinction and personality.

The store has a very elongated layout, taking up the entire width of the building it occupies, but it is quite narrow. The distribution of space occurs in three parallel lines: window, central and wall. The window area shows products projected towards the street and demo units towards the interior. The central space is occupied by experiential furniture. The interior, the one on the wall, has more detailed products that occupy the entire wall with more creative freedom to display them, such as huge grids of illuminated boxes, in the style of an Ikea Kallax, embedded in the wall to highlight small products: Pixel Buds, Fitbit bracelets, Chromebooks… There are also some interactive showcases.

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Recreation of a domestic room in which to try Google Stadia, a Hub Nest or Android TV.

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Cork furniture details.

There is also another novelty that the Apple Store does not have (despite the fact that it would possibly mean millions of additional euros in income): merchandise from Google itself. Even cups, hats, socks or baby clothes. Also the accessories area is quite complete, with Bellroy backpacks or light bulbs Philips Hue.

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Accessories area for Google products.

Where it clicks, at least at the time of the visit, which does not have to be representative, is in the level of assistance. We accessed the Google Store on a Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with good weather. The number of visitors ranged from six to eleven. The visible employees were distributed among nine clerks, two security and two cleaning staff.

We have gone to an Apple Store on a Tuesday at three in the morning to find out who buys in the Apple Store on a Tuesday at three in the morning

For comparison, that same Tuesday morning, around three in the morning, there were more customers in the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, although it is true that the legacy of one and the other due to their age are very different, and they have been moments punctual that do not serve as a sample of anything.

In the Google Store there are not only products to try and buy, and scenarios to fully experience different devices and services; there’s also free events that anyone can sign up foras a photo walk oriented to the impressive cameras of the Pixel or a technological conference.

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Announcement of events organized by Google outside the store.

If the location of that Apple Store, the most iconic in the world, is that of a point attached to Central Park, in a star location; that of the Google Store, in the opposite direction from Manhattan, cannot be called a “star” today… but perhaps in the future. Why is this store located in Chelsea, a neighborhood in the process of gentrification, as were the Born in Barcelona or Lavapiés in Madrid, in this case of high-rise skyscrapers instead of glass and steel, as in the south of Manhattan. A four-minute walk away is High Line Park, the epicenter and icon of this transformation: from an abandoned railway line to a green walkway full of vegetation and the usual space for art.

The choice of this location has been motivated, according to the company, for being home to “many” of the more than 11,000 Google employees in the city. While it may not seem like a massive success yet, it has at least achieved a certain hallmark against a style that is increasingly accepted as valid in an industry where less and less margin of risk is wanted to be assumed. A bit along the same lines as the design, inside and out, of the latest Pixels. Personality.

Not many moons ago, barely a year, since Google opened its first physical store in the Chelsea neighborhood of New…

Not many moons ago, barely a year, since Google opened its first physical store in the Chelsea neighborhood of New…

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