Google has its sights, as of recently, on wooing Europeans to its side while it deals with legal, regulatory and political difficulties. They are faced with issues revolving around privacy, copyright disputes, taxation and more.
In their latest bid to win fans, Google has purchased a building in Paris near the Saint-Lazare train station, for an estimated 150 million euros. They expect employees to move to the new office by the end of the year. With this purchase, and with many other ventures, Google is trying to show that it is a responsible corporate contributor to the local economy and not an opportunist, as it is often shown to be in France.
Changing Its Image
In 2009, Google began to realize that they had a problem in Europe and that these problems were more serious than in other parts of the world. As David C. Drummond, the chief legal officer at Google said, “We were hearing from people in government, the media, in our industry: ‘You need to be more of a part of the culture writ large. We took these criticisms to heart, and we’ve been working to defuse these issues.”
He continued to explain that, “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.”
Many of Google’s recent investments are specifically intended to align themselves with issues of particular interest in each area. In Ireland, for instance, where the economy has hit the real estate industry, Google recently bought the tallest office building in Dublin. In Germany, where they are facing criminal investigation charges about their Street View mapping service, they plan to open an Institute for the Internet and Society.
This year alone, Google plans to hire 1000 new employees across Europe. As Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, a Google vice president explained, “We have been accused of doing these things sometimes only to clean our image. All of these plans are ways to show respect to local cultures.”