Among other advances made possible by artificial intelligence, Google has also developed tools that use satellite imagery to detect and track wildfires in real time. (Photo: 123RF)
“With the new offices, Google has more room to expand in Montreal,” explains Jean-Philippe Gauthier, director of platforms and Google Montreal spokesman.
Google officially unveiled its new offices in Montreal on Wednesday. The California-based company employs more than 300 people in the metropolitan area, and the new offices can accommodate up to 1,000 people. The company also has options that would allow it to lease more space for a longer period if needed.
“We needed a building that would allow us to grow and McGill College [la rue où étaient situés les anciens bureaux] didn’t let us grow. That’s why we moved.”
“It’s kind of like a ‘catch 22’. If you don’t have space, it’s harder to convince teams from all over the world to come and settle here in Montreal.”
However, Google Canada has no problem recruiting despite a shortage of specialized workforce in the tech sector, says Mr Gauthier, who however says he spends a lot of time getting to know potential hires. “I would say that 50% of my job is to have coffee with people to see if they are qualified to work at Google. I don’t think it’s difficult [de recruter]you just need to brew a lot of coffee.”
Bill 96, which aimed to increase the use of French in the workplace in Quebec, has not thwarted hiring efforts. Several companies in the tech sector, including executives from Stingray and Coveo, have voiced their concerns. They feared that the law would deter some candidates in the face of labor shortages.
The language law had no effect on Google Canada, says Mr. Gauthier, who declined to comment. “Some people may be affected, but in our case it didn’t have much of an effect.”
At 300 employees, Google Montreal represents a small subset of the 150,000 or so employees of the multinational corporation that, in addition to the browser of the same name, operates the YouTube platform, cloud computing solutions, and the Android operating system.
The experience of the Google team in Montreal is mainly related to cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. According to Mr. Gautier, an important part of the cybersecurity measures associated with the Chrome browser is carried out in Montreal.
Thanks to the work of the Montreal team, the company sends about 250 million monthly alerts to its users to avoid computer fraud, in particular phishing. “We always try to warn users and prevent an attack.”