Google (NSDQ: GOOG) wants to get a better reputation in Europe – and give the rub to those who think all its innovations come out of California or India – by hiring a load of new engineers in the continent. The company has appointed a new head of engineering for Europe – PhD and former IBM VP of integration Nelson Mattos – who tells FT.com Google will grow its HR books by a third, with most of the additions being “several thousand engineers in Europe to create a research and development team in the region as big as the one it has in the US”.
Half of Googlers (around 7,000) are engineers, but only 500 of those work in Europe, where the company has 12 engineering offices. It’s not just about practicalities – Mattos complained Google is “not seen correctly”, just “as a big US company that is here to make money” (indeed, we have well documented EC concern privacy and antitrust concern in recent months). Currently, there’s a whole business model that exists in Europe – aping big-hitting sites like MySpace and YouTube but in local languages (see Netlog). Google services may be available in non-English languages but these efforts to play catch-up on getting on-the-ground local buy-in will encourage smaller competitors that they have a couple of years of growth in them yet.