In short: Google has now outlined a series of new partnerships and expansions enabling more ways for potential buyers to experience and buy its smartphones and other devices including new pop-up stores, in conjunction with its annual Made By Google hardware event. For starters, consumers in New York and Chicago will be able to visit “pop-up” stores from October 18 through December 31 to try out the company’s hardware in person. Those will be located in SoHo at 131 Green Street and Bucktown at 1704 N. Damen, respectively. Those aren’t the only new shopping experiences coming in the middle of October, either. Bay Area residents will be able to purchase the company’s new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL at the company’s website and have it delivered within as little as three hours. That’s thanks to a new partnership with Enjoy’s delivery service and the company’s experts will even go so far as to help buyers set the new handset up. What’s more, the deal means that the current-generation Pixel 2 XL, Pixelbook, and Google Home Max can be delivered starting today.
Setting those announcements aside, Google has also formed new partnerships with b8ta and goop that will see its hardware on display and ready to buy at select locations for each. For b8ta, Google’s products are now available in a total of five stores in Austin, Corte Madera, Houston, San Francisco, and Tysons Corner. Two further b8ta stores will be receiving the devices in Short Hill, New Jersey, and Scottsdale, Arizona, at some point later in 2018. Meanwhile, permanent goop Lab stores and GIFT pop-ups will be featuring the new devices starting this holiday season and more information will be made available later this month. In both cases, prospective customers will have the chance to try out Google’s new products in person before buying.
Background: There has already been a substantial amount of news stemming from this year's Made By Google event and leading up to the incoming consumer experiences. The search giant has not only launched a new display-enabled Google Home device, the Google Home Hub. It has effectively re-entered the tablet market with its newly unveiled Chrome OS-powered Google Pixel Slate and taken the wraps of off two new Pixel-branded handsets set to go on sale later this month. Stacked with Google's current range of devices, from the Google Pixelbook to its Daydream VR headset and three Assistant-powered Home devices, the new hardware opens up an opportunity for these types of shopping partnerships. However, at least in the case of pop-up shops, this is not Google's first foray into that side of retail. Instead, the announcement builds on earlier efforts in Canada started back near the beginning of the year and similar sales events from the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Moreover, it follows recent trends from online-based companies such as Amazon and Snap to enter the brick-and-mortar side of sales.
Impact: Bearing that in mind, Google isn't stopping at pop-up shops and in-store testing either. The search giant also revealed an ongoing project in partnership with Wing, another Alphabet subsidiary, that has reportedly already been performing localized drone-based delivery of at least some Google hardware in unspecified markets. Specifically, that's been undertaking the delivery of Google Home Mini device which the company says can be shipped to buyers in just 10 minutes from the time of ordering. Of course, that isn't really a feasible option for scaling, as noted by Google. But the company does hint that similar solutions could be a big part of how its products are delivered, where possible, at some point in the future.