Google opens new Berlin office, plans to expand

Google opens new Berlin office, plans to expand
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Google on Tuesday opened a new office in Berlin, saying its new location in the German capital will give it the opportunity to expand.

CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement that the office could help the company more than double its number of employees in Berlin to 300. There are currently 1,400 Google employees in Germany. 

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Berlin “has long been a capital of culture and media. Now it’s also home to a fast-growing startup scene and an engine for innovation,” Pichai said.

The announcement comes as the American tech behemoth faces increasing regulatory scrutiny in Europe, resulting in billions of dollars in fines.

The European Union issued a record $5 billion fine on Google in July, alleging that the company’s Android mobile operating system was being used to shut out competing services. Google denied the charge, saying at the time “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less.” It appealed that fine in October. 

The 2018 penalty followed a $2.7 billion fine in 2017 over the company's practice of promoting its own comparison shopping service in search results over rivals’ services. France also imposed a $57 million levy Monday for alleged violations of European data privacy rules, according to The Associated Press.

Google did not address the fines during its announcement of its Berlin office, though Google Central Europe Vice President Philipp Justus said the company remained committed to transparency regarding data collection.

— Updated at 11:06 a.m.