SAN FRANCISCO — Google is opening showrooms in six US cities, promoting its latest products and stepping up retail efforts against Apple and Microsoft as the year-end holiday shopping season gets underway.
Called Winter Wonderlabs, the outlets will feature products such as Nexus 7 tablets, Chromebook computers, and Chromecast video-streaming devices, the company said on a new website. Consumers can order the devices online after looking at the wares. The stores also feature a large snow globe that lets customers take videos of themselves, complete with fake snow.
The operator of the world’s most popular search engine is investing more resources to bolster its position in hardware and joins Intel Corp. this year in rolling out showrooms to promote products. Microsoft Corp. has opened almost 50 stores since Apple Inc. found success with its retail outlets, where customers can purchase iPhones, iPads, and Macs and learn more about using the devices.
‘‘The Winter Wonderlab is a fun and interactive way to experience all of Google’s new gadgets in one place,’’ the company said on the website.
Google Inc. is putting the showrooms in or near New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Calif., and Paramus, N.J. The company is also building a barge in San Francisco Bay aimed at showing off new technologies.