Google announces $7bn U.S. expansion plans



Alphabet Inc., the parent company of internet giant Google LLC, is betting big on a post-pandemic return to the office, despite being one of the biggest proponents of remote work.

The company has reportedly committed to spending $7 billion this year on expanding its offices and data center facilities in the U.S. In addition, it will hire at least 10,000 new full time staff members over the next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Coming together in person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture,” Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post. “And it will be an important part of our future.”

Last year, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, Google was one of the first major tech firms to announce that it would allow its employees to work from home for the foreseeable future. It has since said that all of its employees will be free to work remotely until July 2022. However, with vaccines now rolling out, it has said it expects many of its employees to begin returning to the office, though many will be allowed to work remotely two days per week.

Google isn’t the only tech giant that has committed to a return to the office. Amazon.com Inc. said last summer that it’s planning to expand its physical offices to six cities in the U.S., a move that highlights the importance it places on people being able to work and collaborate in the same place.

Other tech firms have opted to embrace remote work permanently, however. For example, Twitter Inc. said last year that its employees could work from home forever, if they chose to do so.

Google, for its part, has thrived during the pandemic thanks to an increase in online advertising spending. The company has doubled its data center capacity since 2018, investing chiefly in its public cloud computing services. Even so, the $7 billion commitment for this year is lower than its office and data center expenditure has been in previous years. During 2018 and 2019, it spent an average of $11 billion on expanding its facilities.

For 2021, Google has said it is mostly interested in growing its existing sites, such as its data center in Nebraska (pictured), though it will also establish new offices in Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas, the Journal reported. That will ensure Google has a presence in 19 U.S. states overall.

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