The Pixel and Pixel XL, the first phone made by Google, are not really a Verizon exclusive. Traditionally this word means that they are the place you can get the device from and that it won’t necessarily work on other networks. This is not the case with the Pixel and Pixel XL– the exclusive here is that Verizon will be the only US carrier directly selling the device.
The Google Store and even BestBuy are selling unlocked versions of the Pixel. There versions work on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Furthermore, a majority of these unlocked models are sold out, versus Verizon’s supply which is still around.
The fundamental difference between a Verizon model and the Unlocked model will be the software. Traditionally, Verizon has been known for installing way too many pre-loaded applications; this is known as bloatware. And any updates for Verizon smartphones, except for the iPhones, have to go through an approval process from the carrier. Usually with Google phones, like the Nexus series, they get first dibs on the updates.
But having a Verizon Pixel or Pixel XL will mean a longer wait to get the software updates, as Verizon will be handling the rollout. Google will still have control over monthly security updates, but that will be it. So if timely updates and a clean version of the OS are important to you, it might be good to look at getting the phone direct from Google.