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Google invests €1bn into Germany

But perhaps should not expect a particularly warm welcome


Pete Carvill

Tech behemoth Google has said it is going to boost its cloud computing offering by investing €1bn in new data centres, based in Berlin and Hesse, that will be powered by renewable energy.

As reported by Euractiv Germany, the move is understood to be the largest Google has made into Germany in 20 years. The tech giant said the money will be invested between now and 2030. Part of the deal involves a partnership with Engie for the renewable energy. The moves follow several large investments by rivals, including Apple and Tesla, into Germany, particularly in the city of Berlin where there is a thriving tech and start-up scene.

Speaking at a press conference, Philipp Justus, vice president of Google Central Europe, said: “When we think of the big issues of the future that will shape Germany, it is digitisation on the one hand and sustainability on the other.”

Not all rosy

Google’s investing into Germany may bring profits and money into the country. What it will definitely bring from within Berlin is almost certainly protest. In the last five years, the city has been suffering a housing crisis due to a skyrocketing population.

As tech and other high-end employers have moved into the German capital, rents have reportedly risen 42% in the last decade, pricing many long-term residents out of the market. In addition, the number of homes available has dropped precipitously, leading to the city government’s repeated attempts to ban things like AirBNB and price-gouging in rents, move that have both failed.

Google’s announcement has already met with some criticism. The DPA press agency said scathingly: “Google seems a bit like a pony that has mastered just one trick: making money with advertising. The ads on Google and YouTube bring the Alphabet group billions, whereas the Cloud business has so far only chalked up losses.”

Added DPA: “However, company boss Sundar Pichai has not given up on the plan to build up the Cloud division as an important revenue source. That’s why he also gave the green light for a huge investment in Germany so as not to leave the lucrative German market to the market leaders Amazon AWS and Microsoft.”