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Google Investing in Properties in Europe to Win Over Europeans

Chiseled into the stone facade of the vacant Second Empire building at 8 — Google, acquired the building, around the corner from the Saint-Lazare train station, for an estimated 150 million euros, or $210 million, and Google employees are expected to move from their current nondescript Paris office by the end of the year.

Google is preparing to move into its new Paris offices at 8 rue de Londres by the end of the year.

“The investment is part of a campaign by Google to win hearts and minds across Europe as it confronts legal, regulatory and political challenges on issues including privacy, copyright disputes, antitrust actions and taxation. Google has been trying to establish its European bona fides and show respect for local cultures throughout The Continent. The company is spending hundreds of millions of euros to try to demonstrate that it is a responsible corporate citizen and a valuable contributor to the local economy, not the willful opportunist it is often portrayed as in France,” NYTime noted.

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.

Here’re 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.

[Source: The New York Times]

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