Google builds a team to support 'next billion users' in Asia

A crew in Singapore will tackle the region's unique problems.

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Nick Summers
February 19th, 2016
In this article: culture, google, internet
Getty Creative
Getty Creative

To better serve its users in Southeast Asia, Google is creating its first engineering team dedicated to the region. To kick off the recruitment drive it's acquired Pie, a startup in Singapore that was developing a Slack-style service for workplace communications. Google says it's also on the lookout for new hires -- both graduates and experienced engineers -- to bulk up its team, and will be inviting its employees with "deep ties to Singapore" to consider relocating to the city. Students can also apply for a 12-week internship, although these will be taking place in Australia.

Why go to such lengths? Well, Google recognises that internet "first-timers" in Southeast Asia are often different to those in the US. Many use a low-cost smartphone as their primary computing device, for instance, rather than a laptop or PC. Internet connectivity can also be a problem, either because of its cost, speed or reliability. It makes sense, then, to build a team that's closer to these users and understands the cultural differences. A dedicated, local crew should be nimbler, reacting faster to the community and organically coming up with new, tailored ideas.

"That's why we're building a new engineering team in Singapore," Google's Caesar Sengupta said in a blog post. "To get closer to the next billion users coming online and to develop products that will work for them."

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