Google has announced a $1 billion investment in Australia over five years, including its first Australian research hub, increased cloud capacity and partnerships with local organisations including the CSIRO.
The tech giant’s Digital Future Initiative, its largest investment in the country to date, is expected to support more than 6000 new direct jobs and more than 28,000 total jobs in Australia. It will focus on three areas; building digital economy infrastructure, fostering local innovations, and partnering to solve local issues.
Speaking at the opening of its new expanded office space in Sydney, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said the investment would help drive local companies’ digital transformations, make research discoveries in AI and quantum computing, and advance solutions to Australian issues including clean energy and reef health.
“We believe a strong digital future is one where everyone has access to technology and the skills to use it; where the internet economy fulfils its immense potential,” Mr Pichai said.
“Australia can help lead the world’s next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress.”
Google Australia managing director Mel Silva said specific initiatives already underway included AI solutions to help CSIRO analyse underwater images of crown-of-thorn starfish, and expanded cloud capacity through a new cloud region in Melbourne.
Google Research Australia, a new unit within the company, will contain a team of researchers and engineers to develop AI solutions, while outside collaborations include a quantum computing partnership with Maquarie University.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Google’s investment was a vote of confidence in his government’s Digital Economy Strategy, and would have a ripple effect across the economy.