The NY Times reports on Google’s charm (and spending) offensive in Europe to try seem less like an American intruder and more like a Europe-friendly purveyor of internet search and other services.
Against the backdrop of an European Commission antitrust investigation and criticism from public officials and cultural figures alike, Google has been trying to establish its European bona fides and show respect for local cultures throughout The Continent.
Here are some examples the Times cites of Google’s efforts to woo lawmakers and local populations:
- In Ireland, for example, where the bursting of a huge real estate bubble has left the economy in tatters, Google recently acquired, for 100 million euros, the tallest office building in Dublin . . .
- In Germany, where Google is under criminal investigation over whether its Street View mapping service broke laws on data protection, the company plans to open an Institute for the Internet and Society . . .
- In France, where Google’s efforts to digitize books and other cultural material have been denounced as cultural imperialism by some critics, the new Paris headquarters will house what Google calls a European cultural center.
- Employment is also a perennial concern in France, and Google says it plans to double its French payroll, to 500, over the next two years. Over all, the company plans to hire 1,000 new employees across Europe this year . . .
The article argues that Europe is critical for Google’s growth and that friendly relations with European governments and local populations will significantly aid in that objective.
It remains to be seen whether these efforts, taken together, appease Google’s European critics. However some of the measures above will certainly help.