The Wall Street Journal devotes considerable inches today to covering Google’s expansion in New York City. In 2011, the tech giant added about 750 employees to its Chelsea outpost, bringing the total number of employees here up to 2,750.
About half of those new staffers are from acquisitions. Google acquired four companies, also in New York City, last year.
While the company overall grew 33 percent from 2010 to 2011, Googleplex East expanded by 38 percent. The Journal called it, “the most prominent example of a technology company shifting its focus toward New York. “
It reminds us of what one former city official said after Facebook’s big presser about vague plans to start an engineering hub in New York. “Thank you? I guess,” said the source, contrasting it with Google who just “all of a sudden had 1,400 engineers.”
Twenty percent of the new hires were in sales, 20 percent are engineering hires, and 10 percent are in administrative and HR roles. Although proximity to Madison Avenue obviously drives the advertising focus, a number of tech initiatives are also run in New York, like building new features for Google Docs:
New York is one of the two important sites in speech recognition, such as voice search on Android phones, and natural language processing. Engineers are also plugging away at local search, such as using a map on a mobile device to find something where the location is relevant, like a restaurant, Mr. Spector says. To boost those focuses, Google also acquired restaurant reviewer Zagat and licensing and royalty service provider Rights Flow in 2011.
Google’s New York office also plays a role is creating a platform for online ads, especially display ads. Various reports cite the industry running between $10 billion and $30 billion but Mr. Bender said it can be “much, much bigger than that,” estimating $200 billion.
The company has also started making nice with the locals by donating “large sums” to New York City colleges and donating space to community organizations. Betabeat also heard Google is in negotiations to figure out how to contribute to the new software engineering high school in Union Square.