I just took the Google Train to Weirdsville

Google Train

I don't know what just happened to me.

What I'm about to tell you actually just happened. I promise none of it is made up.

Let me set the scene: I'm at the Google Pixel launch in London, in a cool warehouse space. So far, so average day for this hipster dude.

I'm waiting to check out the Daydream View demo. I've got half an hour to go, so I'm told to go and try out the 'commute train ride' up on another platform.

There's nothing out of the ordinary so far, as 'experiences' to try out new features of a phone or gadget are pretty normal at press launches, placing them in their optimum context to properly show them off.

So I assume I'm about to go on a whirlwind tour of the new elements of the Pixel phone, all the great things it can do in some new and creative form. I'm intrigued, as this looks like a pretty big set up.

Google Train

Everything seems normal so far. Probably going to see some cool new navigation stuff.

I head up some stairs and into a 'station'. It's a little train track with the London Underground sign 're-imagined' with the Google logo. I'm told the train will be here in a moment but there's some 'congestion' on the line.


Suddenly a trolley emerges from behind a curtain, being pushed by a Google rep. On the trolley are two footstools, with wireless headphones on each.

The chap at the entrance to the 'experience' asks me what I like to listen to on my commute home. I tell him a little bit of EDM, because I am (as already explained) one helluva dude.

He looks a touch perplexed, telling me that might not possible.

'How about jazz, pop, classical?' he posits.

I confirm pop is fine. I'm told to get on a stool. I do so.

Google Train

OK. This is a strange train. But it's cool. I'll probably be alright.

'OK GOOGLE, PLAY SOME POP!' Yells the fellow who took my music choice. And we're off!

I'm wheeled around a corner, lights blinding me slightly, with some jazzy piano music playing in my ears. What's it going to be like? Will this be some sort of Google take on the haunted house? Will I be scared? Will I jump out of my skin or be dazzled by the future as presented by one of the biggest companies on the planet?

There's a man. Playing a piano. He's playing the music I'm listening to. He's very good at piano, I note, as we wheel past.

'OK, you can exit through the curtain on your left!' I'm told, as we grind to a halt.

Wait… what? That's it?

Yes. That was it. I just spent about 25 seconds of my life being pushed around on a trolley in an experience that must have cost loads of time and money to create.

And I have no idea why.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.