Google has announced that it is opening the Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) in Munich, Germany, which will be a global hub for the company’s cross-product privacy engineering efforts. In addition, Google plans to double the number of privacy engineers in Munich to more than 200 by the end of the year. The team will work directly with privacy specialists in offices around the world.
“It’s no accident that we’re building our privacy hub in the heart of Europe, and in a country that, in many ways, reflects how Europeans think about online safety, privacy and security,” wrote CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post. “Many of our privacy products have been built in Munich, including Google Account, a central place where you can control your privacy when you use Google products. Today, more than 20 million people visit Google Account every day to review their settings, using tools like Privacy Checkup, which provides a quick and easy walk-through of your privacy settings.”
Pichai added that the technology the engineers are working on won’t just be used to keep people safe while using Google’s products, but will work to boost security when browsing the web. In fact, engineering teams working in Munich have already built privacy and security features into the Chrome browser, including enhanced password management, as well as tools and improvements for cookie controls.
“This is a major milestone in our investments in Europe. Since 2007, we’ve grown in Munich to more than 750 people, hailing from more than 60 countries,” said Pichai. “We’ll continue to invest in all parts of our operation, including the GSEC team. This year’s expansion will take us beyond 1,000 employees for the first time, making the office a true global hub, not only for privacy engineering, but for research and product development as well.”
He also announced the launch of a new Google Impact Challenge on Safety, which is “a 10 million euro grant fund to support nonprofits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises and other organizations already working across Europe on a range of safety issues, from keeping young people safe online to addressing hate crimes in their communities.”