Google has announced a five-year investment of A$1 billion ($740 million, £550 million) in Australia. It is the company’s most significant investment in the country to date.
The funds will be used to construct a research centre, expand Google’s cloud computing capacity, and fund relationships with local organizations, according to Google.
The initiative, dubbed the Digital Future Initiative, is intended to generate 6,000 direct jobs and 28,000 indirect jobs.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative in Sydney was Google boss, Sundar Pichai who stated, “Australia can help lead the world’s next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress.
Also attending the event, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the plan: “The decision by Google has major benefits for Australian businesses as we engage with the economic recovery before us.”
The corporation will engage with local organizations as part of the investment, including Australia’s science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Google’s move, according to Joshua Kennedy-White of cyber investment firm DivisionX Global, is a “major gain” for Australian technology.
“It takes money to move an idea into an innovation and the first money is the hardest to come by.
“If Google cut $250k cheques to promising start-ups, they could fund 4,000 new tech companies in Australia,” he said.
Sydney’s bid to become the ‘Silicon Valley of the Southern Hemisphere’ has received a huge boost with this announcement.
Tech Central, a multi-billion dollar center in central Sydney, is set to begin construction next year and will last until 2026.
Big tech corporations, on the other hand, have been chastised in Australia in recent months for failing to pay local news publishers for content that appears on their platforms. They’ve also been accused of facilitating the spread of fake news.
In January, during hearings in Australia’s parliament, Google Australia’s Managing Director Mel Silva threatened to disable the company’s search engine in the country if it did not pay for content posted on its websites.
The following month, Australia became the world’s first country to enact legislation mandating large technology companies, such as Google and Facebook, to pay for news content on their platforms.
There have also been efforts to limit Google’s dominance in the country.
In October, the head of Australia’s competition watchdog demanded that Google include a “choice screen” on cell phones, allowing consumers to select a different search engine.