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Google backs the UK with £1bn hard cash!

Google is set to have a new head office in King’s Cross, London which could provide 3,000 jobs in the next 4 years.

This announcement brings a huge uplift to the UK’s technology sector.

In his debut European broadcast interview as the C.E.O of Google, Sundar Pichai, stated that the UK is still an appealing place for businesses and that unrestricted travel for working migrants is vital to the successfulness of the technology sector in Britain.

It was also said that the investment could partially be at danger due to the decision for Britain to leave the EU which could affect immigration in the future.

In response to “fake news” allegations regarding Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Google’s Chief Executive believes that these stories may have had an influence on the election results due to the small difference in votes.

He also stated the importance of companies such as Google to share “accurate” articles with their mass of users.

Even though Google wouldn’t discuss the expenses of the new plan, specialists have estimated that the cost of the building and staff will total to at least £1bn.

In the UK, Google currently employs approximately 4,000 people.

The new headquarters is set to be over double its current size of 650,000 sq-ft.

“The UK has been a tremendous market for us,” The C.E.O told the BBC.

“We see big opportunities here. This is a big commitment from us – we have some of the best talent in the world in the UK and to be able to build great products from here sets us up well for the long term.”

The building was designed by Thomas Heatherwick who designed the “garden bridge” in London.  He was contacted due to the creators of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, thought the original ideas weren’t interesting enough. Bjarke Ingels Group are helping with the new offices.

It was feared by businesses that Britain leaving the EU would take an effect on foreign investment.

Due to this, Mr Pichai was questioned on Google’s commitment to the plans and he explained that the economy of Britain is not completely reliant on the Brexit outcome although he acknowledged the possible consequences which may be faced.

“The innovation we see here, the talent we have available here and how on the cutting edge of technology we are able to be here makes it an incredible place for us to invest,” he responded.

“We do value how open and connected it is and we can bring in talent from anywhere in the world and we value those attributes and we are optimistic that those will stay true over time.

“So we did [make the investment decision] taking into consideration [the referendum], but we are very optimistic.”

Mr Pichai said he wishes to be “respectful” of any changes to immigration control which could be made as a result of Brexit.

“In our experience as a company, when we have been able to bring people together and operate in an open and connected way it achieves tremendous impact over time.

“Those are the values we cherish, and we have been open and public about how we think about these things.

“When I look at London [I see] a place in which we are able to attract great talent, find great talent in the UK, thanks to a great educational system here, but it has also been a place where people are willing to come from anywhere in the world.

“Increasingly, for the kinds of complex things we do, we need to bring people who are across many disciplines – with many different backgrounds – together to solve problems. That’s how you can build newer things, so that is particularly important for us.”

He also said he would be concerned if the rules of skilled migration became stricter.

When asked about the American election, he expressed how “deeply divided” the US is.

“I come from India, I am used to a vibrant democracy, and it is the same in the United States.

“It is important to remember that we had a democratic process and there has been an outcome.

“As you can see the country is deeply divided so I tend to look forward and I think we need to figure out how to constructively engage with the new administration and hear the voices of people, as at Google we care about certain values – be it freedom of expression, the notion of inclusion and fairness, building open systems, building a connected world.

“But it is also important to acknowledge that there are people, through a process like this, who feel left behind, and I am glad the democratic process gives voices to everyone.”

As well as Facebook, Google too faced criticism about sharing fake stories regarding Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton which were thought to affect voting.

Mr Pichai believes social media sites have a responsibility to share articles which have the correct information, stating it is “very important” to Google.

“It is important to remember that we get billions of queries every day.

“There have been a couple of incidences where it has been pointed out and we didn’t get it right.

“And so it is a learning moment for us and we will definitely work to fix it.”

Mr Pichai explained he wasn’t completely convinced that these fake stories could’ve influenced the vote.

“I am not fully sure.

“Look, it is important to remember this was a very close election and so, just for me, so looking at it scientifically, one in a hundred voters voting one way or the other swings the election either way.

“So, when you talk about such narrow margins, obviously there are many, many contributing factors and so I think there is enormous debate because of that – I am not fully sure what caused this.”

In response to a question about Google’s controversial tax payments, Mr Pichai said “We contribute a lot to the UK economy and we enable for example small businesses to be the engine of any economy.

“We are happy to pay our fair share of tax.

“As you know tax is a global construct. We are a multi-national company in well over 100 countries and we have advocated comprehensive tax reform so we can engage and get to a better place.

“But I think it is important to remember that we are one company in a global system and it is more important for governments and citizens to sort out the right structure and we are always happy to engage in a thoughtful and constructive manner.”

 

 

 


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