Google joins British drive to boost technology sector

4th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Google said Thursday it was setting up a new centre for development and training in London, the first of its kind in Europe, as part of government efforts to boost the British tech industry.

From next year, the US Internet giant will create an 'innovation hub' which will host training workshops and product demonstrations for start-up firms and engineers, and will be a place for Google staff to work with local developers.

"We haven't proposed anything quite like this in Europe," a Google spokesman told AFP.

It will be based in east London, where Prime Minister David Cameron is hoping to create a centre for technology businesses. Intel, Facebook and Cisco are among the firms who have so far signed up to work there.

"We're not just going to back the big businesses of today, we're going to back the big businesses of tomorrow," Cameron will say in a speech Thursday, according to pre-release extracts from his office.

"We are firmly on the side of the high-growth, highly innovative companies of the future. Don't doubt our ambition."

Cameron is also expected to announce a new "entrepreneur visa" to help businesses circumvent Britain's immigration system, which the prime minister's coalition government vowed to tighten when it took power in May.

"These entrepreneur visas will mean that if you have a great business idea, and you receive serious investment from a leading investor, you are welcome to set up your business in our country," he will say.

Cameron said his government would also be reviewing Britain's strict intellectual property laws to "to see if we can make them fit for the Internet age".

The Google spokesman added: "It's great to see a renewed government focus on technology and we're very happy to support it with our plans for a new developer Innovation Hub in east London."

In September, Google announced it would be opening a new engineering centre in Paris to lure young French IT engineers.

© 2010 AFP

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