Google is going on a charm offensive in Europe, The New York Times is reporting.
The search giant is plagued by something of an image problem—especially in France and Germany—facing privacy issues, copyright and tax disputes, and antitrust actions. The solution? Invest heavily in the region to demonstrate that it can live up to its slogan ("don't be evil").
The company has spent an estimated $210 million on its new Paris digs at 8 rue de Londres. It also plans to employ some 1,000 people in France. In Ireland, which has suffered its own real estate crash, Google bought the tallest building in Dublin from the government. Under criminal investigation in Germany over whether its Street View mapping service broke laws on data protection, the company plans to open an Institute for the Internet and Society.
All of this activity comes out of a specific plan that was formulated in late 2009, the paper reports.
“We’re really trying to work with folks in Europe to establish ourselves as more of a local player that is investing in jobs, in facilities, our physical presence, and all the ancillary things that come with that,” David C. Drummond, the chief legal officer at Google, told the Times.