Google to set up first Middle East R&D center in Haifa

Technion graduate Dr. Yoelle Maarek will head the center, which is due to open in the second quarter.

Following the launch of Google Israel last week, Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) today announced the appointment of Dr. Yoelle S. Maarek as head of the company’s R&D center to be opened Israel during the second quarter of 2006 in Haifa.

Google did not commit on an opening date, but it would not be redundant to mention that Google Israel CEO Meir Brand, who handles the company’s sales activities in Israel, was appointed to his post six months before the official launch of Google Israel.

Google said Maarek had 17 years engineering experience at IBM Research, which she joined after completing her PhD at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

The Google Israel R&D center will be the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Google VP engineering and research Alan Eustace said, “Israel's highly skilled engineering base makes it the ideal place to establish an R&D center. Engineering is at the very heart of what we do at Google - we use innovative technology to help solve complex problems.”

Outside the US Google currently has R&D centers in Tokyo, Zurich, and Bangalore, India. Its R&D centers in the US are in New York, Santa Monica and Mountain View, California, and in Kirkwood, Washington. Google currently has 5,680 employees, including 1,000 in Europe. The company did not mention how many employees it would hire in Israel. Its current sales force in Israel only numbers about ten.

Setting up an R&D center in Israel is part of Google’s rapid expansion in the US and international markets. The company hired 2,659 persons last year, doubling its workforce. The rapid expansion is especially marked at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

In interviews with the US media this week, Eustace commented on the fields in which Google is currently interested in, and for which it is hiring. He said the company was seeking electronics and mechanical engineers, as well as creative persons able to look differently at complex problems and come up with the most interesting solutions.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on February 28, 2006

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