CEO Sundar Pichai announced on Monday that Google would devote 1 billion Australian dollars (about $736 million) to Australia over the next five years. After a clash with the government, the tech firm is making its largest-ever investment in Australia. Earlier this year, it threatened to shut down Google search in the country.
Part of it will also be used for the development of the nation’s cloud computing sector. The tech company also plans to team up with an Australian government agency on scientific research. It will include projects on clean energy and the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Google also plans to partner with a local university on quantum computing.
Google said that the new initiative should help create new jobs and spur innovation. It has been in Australia for two decades and now employs nearly 2,000 people locally.
On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the move “a $1 billion vote of confidence” in the country’s economic strategy. The premier’s government has previously outlined plans to turn the country into “a top digital economy by 2030.” Among other areas, he was working to support its capabilities in artificial intelligence.
Also, on Tuesday, Morrison emphasized that as he spoke at a Google office in Sydney, the plan “doesn’t mean they’re trying to be the next Silicon Valley.” But the company’s program would help create more than 6,000 jobs, he said. He added that it would add about 6.7 billion Australian dollars ($4.9 billion) of value to the economy.
As they emerge from this pandemic in a very challenging world, their challenge is to secure their country’s economic recovery, Morrison said. That is the challenge they face as they move into 2022. Australia’s digital strategy is central to securing that recovery, the premier added.
Antitrust Complaint Against Alphabet’s Google
Meanwhile, in other technology news, Texas’s group of U.S. states have filed an amended complaint against Alphabet Inc’s Google. They were accusing the tech company of using coercive tactics and breaking antitrust laws. That is, in its efforts to boost its already-dominant advertising business.