While Google's previous Pixel phones have been sold through Verizon, they've been sold unlocked, meaning you could pop another carrier's SIM card and use your new phone on another network. With the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, though, that's changed.
Verizon has confirmed that Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones sold by Verizon must first be activated on Verizon's network before they're unlocked. The carrier told The Verge that once the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL is activated on its network, it'll automatically become unlocked "overnight" that same day. This also applies to Verizon Pixel 3 phones sold by Best Buy.
This new policy was announced earlier this year that Verizon says is meant to deter criminals who steal unlocked phones and then try to sell them.
Google is selling the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL unlocked out of the box, so you can go that route if you want to use one of Google's new phones on a network other than Verizon. Still, this news is sure to throw a wrench in the plans of some people who were planning to buy a phone from Verizon rather than order from Google. If that's you, then you should point your browser to the Google Store so that you don't run into any issues when you try to use your Pixel 3 on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or any other non-Verizon network.