FDI of the Month December 2018: Google Ireland taking over European services

FDI of the Month | Mon 7 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
Google office Dublin
Pictured: Google office, Dublin.

After 15 years here, 2018 was Google’s biggest year for hiring in Ireland, and Google Ireland is taking on a host of new responsibilities from the American entity.

The past year saw Google celebrate 15 years in Ireland and a new high of recruitment figures, with staff now numbering 8,000, up from the original 5 employees who first set up shop on these shores back in 2003.

Ireland is the second largest Google site in Europe with the biggest Engineering workforce outside of Zurich and Mountain View, with over 8,000 people from 70 countries, speaking more than 75 languages and serving more than 2 million customers.

Google has invested more than  €1 billion in Ireland since 2003, and to celebrate its 15-year anniversary, launched the €1M Google.org Impact Challenge, an open call for local nonprofit and social enterprise innovators to make their community a better place–5 finalists will receive €50,000 grants, training and volunteer support from Google.

New responsibility

It was announced in December 2018, that, beginning 22 January 2019, Google Ireland would take over responsibility for a number of key areas. Google Ireland will, going forward become the service provider for consumer services including Search, Gmail and Maps, taking over from the US-based Google entity.

The Irish subsidiary is also taking over responsibility for users’ information, making Google Ireland the data controller for users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Anne Rooney, Google Ireland’s public policy manager, explained in a blog post what related changes to Google’s privacy policy will mean :

Google Ireland Limited will become the “data controller” legally responsible for EEA and Swiss users’ information. This means that Google Ireland Limited becomes responsible for responding to requests for its user data, including from EU law enforcement, consistent with Irish law. It is also responsible for compliance with applicable privacy laws, including Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”

Ms Rooney noted that the data controller change will facilitate engagement with EU data protection authorities via the GDPR’s “One Stop Shop” mechanism, which was created to ensure consistency of regulatory decisions for companies and EU citizens.