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Google opens a new center for privacy engineering in Munich

Google LLC is getting deadly serious about user privacy. Its just announced its plans to create what it calls a “Google Safety Engineering Center” in Munich, Germany, that will house a dedicated engineering team that will focus on creating privacy features for all of its products.

Google’s chief executive officer Sundar Pichai said in a blog post the company intends to double its privacy engineering workforce at the Munich center, which is already home to a team of 750 that’s working on product safety.

“The team will work hand in hand with privacy specialists in Google offices across Europe and globally, and the products built there will be used around the world,” Pichai wrote.

Google’s announcement comes almost a year after Europe’s infamous General Data Protection Regulation came into effect. That regulation dictates that companies doing business in the European Union must house user data within its country of origin, and comply with dozens of other conditions on how that data should be used.

GDPR ensured that privacy has become a big issue for Google, which announced earlier this month it’s planning to introduce a new feature that will allow its users to auto-delete much of the data the company collects on them.

“We believe that privacy and safety must be equally available to everyone in the world, and we bring that to life with products that empower everyone with clear and meaningful choices around their data,” Pichai said.

The CEO added that Google believes Germany is the best location for its new safety engineering center, as its been one of the most aggressive countries in terms of regulating data. He noted that Google Account, which allows users to check their privacy settings across all of Google’s products, was created at the Munich center.

Besides the expanded privacy center, Pichai also announced the new Impact Challenge on Safety project that will see Google create a €10 million ($11.23 million) fund for companies working on digital safety issues.

The idea with that fund is to support “nonprofits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises, and other expert organizations across Europe” that are working to tackle “hate and extremism” online, or to help young people stay safe online.

In other news Tuesday, Google also announced the availability of a new cloud region for Google Cloud Platform in Osaka, Japan. The new region is the company’s second in Japan, and offers three availability zones and access to cloud services including Compute Engine, App Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Bigtable, Cloud Spanner, and BigQuery.

Photo: Google

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