Google invests $740M in Australia amid calls for more regulation

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Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

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Google has had a contentious relationship with the Australian government in 2021, at one point with the Silicon Valley giant Threats to remove Google Search from the country, When Google on Monday announced that it was investing $740 million (AU$1 billion) in Australia’s digital infrastructure over the next five years.

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“We want to help Australia shape the next wave of innovations,” Sundar Pichai said in a pre-recorded video statement. He said the money will go to further developing Australia’s cloud infrastructure, building Google’s first research hub Down Under, and establishing local partnerships that tackle local and global issues such as clean energy generation and finding ways to protect the Great Barrier Reef .

Speaking at Google’s offices in Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called it “a billion dollar vote of confidence in Australia’s digital economy strategy”. The strategy he refers to is his government’s $880 million (AU$1.2 billion) initiative launched in May To invest in AI, quantum computing, blockchain and other technologies.

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It is the latest twist in Australia’s turbulent 2021 with US tech titans. In January, as Australia’s parliament was working on a bill that would force Google and Facebook to pay media publications whose content populates Google searches and appears on Facebook feeds, Google revamped its search platform. Threatened to be pulled from Australia entirely. Cooler heads eventually prevailed (though Facebook Blocked Australian news for a few days), the aforesaid media bill became law And Google has since big money deals To pay Australian media companies.

Although Prime Minister Morrison was smiling at Google’s Australian headquarters on Monday (Tuesday morning Australia time), the confrontation with Google may not be entirely in the past. Australia’s competition watchdog, which petitioned for a longstanding news media bill that eventually became law, is once again in Google’s crosshairs. in September it released a report Saying that Google has exercised its dominance in edtech — where Google makes most of its money – To hurt competition in the industry, and advised heavy regulation. Google dismissed the allegation,

“I particularly appreciate the approach that Google has taken to tackle some of the toughest issues,” Morrison said on Monday, in reference to his government’s dispute with the tech giant earlier in the year. “But we sat down, we’ve worked them through and I think we’ve got the right outcome for the citizens of Australia and the technology future that we both want to embrace.”

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