Google to invest $390 million to expand Belgian data centre

Google is about to invest 300 million euros ($390 million) to expand its continental European data centre. The search giant announced that it will upgrade the facility in Belgium to meet growing demand for its online services.

Google, which bought over and then went on to make Android the most popular mobile OS in the world, will be using the new data centre to better service search requests, Gmail interactions and YouTube views.

Currently, the information underpinning Google's services is processed in industrial-scale data centres such as the Belgian one in St Ghislain, southwest of Brussels.

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Google’s significant investment shows that Belgium is a key business destination, including for new technologies,” Elio Di Rupo, the Belgian Prime Minister, was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal. “Although we’re going through difficult economic times, we keep attracting major investments from international companies,” he added.

Belgium has been in the throes of an economic downturn like most of Europe and this investment will surely lift the spirits of other investors. The fact that Google is investing such a massive amount should come as no surprise. The company has been increasing its investment in centres around Europe of late.

Google’s facility in Belgium currently has around 120 employees and is one of the most energy-efficient, eco-friendly data centres of its kind. Operating since 2010, Google invested 250 million euros into the building of the facility. It is the company’s first data centre to use an advanced evaporative cooling system, which allows the facility to tap into the grey water from nearby canals to minimise the overall energy cost. However, the demand for Google’s services has spiralled beyond initial expectations and the centre now needs to undergo an upgrade to facilitate speedier access for the company’s European users.

"Belgium enjoys a unique position in the heart of Europe, well-developed infrastructure and a high-quality and productive workforce,” the Prime Minister added.

The Mountain View company also has data centres catering to the European market in Ireland and Finland. Last year, Google said it was investing $184 million more in its Hamina data center in Finland. The expansion, which roughly doubled Google’s original investment in the facility, will be completed sometime in early 2014.

With inputs from Associated Press

Published Date: Apr 10, 2013 19:59 PM | Updated Date: Apr 10, 2013 19:59 PM