If you’re interested in Google products, you may have stumbled upon the Google Store. This is the place where Google sells its own products, but it wasn’t always like that. The Google Store has an interesting history.

The Google Store Started as a Tab

play store devices tab
The “Devices” tab now goes to the Google Store

Google’s first “store” was the Android market. It existed only on Android devices, and it delivered Android apps and games. Google slowly added different types of content to the Android Market, which necessitated a change in branding to “Google Play.”

The Google Play Store is home to many different types of digital goods, but it was also where Google sold Nexus phones and tablets, Chromecasts, and Chromebooks. All of this lived under the “Devices” tab on the Play Store.

Eventually, Google took a bigger interest in making its own hardware, which led to the creation of the Google Store.

“Made by Google”

made by google 2016 lineup
“Made by Google” 2016 Google

The first hardware device developed entirely in-house by Google was the Nexus Q media device in 2012. At this time, the only hardware being sold on the Play Store was Nexus devices, which weren’t built by Google itself.

The Nexus Q ultimately failed, but it did lead to the Chromecast in 2013, which was a massive success. That was just the beginning of Google’s interest in developing its own products in-house and acquiring hardware companies.

The Google Store officially launched in March 2015. Up until this point, Google had only dabbled in hardware devices. However, the company was preparing to make a big push into this area, and the launch of the Google Store was an important step.

The next year, Google introduced the first Pixel phones and the original Google Home smart speaker. This kicked off the “Made by Google” initiative. Since then, dozens of products have been launched in the Google Store. It’s home to Pixel phones, Nest smart devices, Chromecasts, Chromebooks, and accessories.

What Can You Buy in the Google Store?

Google distributes digital goods in the Play Store, but as previously mentioned, its hardware is sold in the Google Store. That includes Pixel phones, Chromebooks, Chromecasts, Nest devices, and some products from Google partners.

The Google Store isn’t the only place available to buy Google hardware. Many of its products can be purchased at retailers, including Best Buy and Amazon. However, if you buy a Google product from Google itself, you’ll usually get better customer support and replacements.

google store website
Google Store website

An equivalent of the Google Store would be the Apple Store. It’s a store owned by the company that makes the products that are sold. In both examples, you may find some products from third parties, but the majority of the items are from the store owner.

Unlike the Apple Store, the Google Store is only an online market. There are no “brick-and-mortar” Google Stores in the real world. You may find specific Google sections or “pop-up shops” in stores like Best Buy, but that’s it.

The one exception to the “physical products” rule in the Google Store is subscriptions. You can purchase subscriptions to services such as Google One, Stadia Pro, and YouTube Premium. These are subscriptions that typically go along with physical products.

Google’s description of the Google Store is the simplest explanation for its purpose: “Google Store for Google Made Devices & Accessories.” That’s really all it is.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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