Google To Spend $9.5 Billion on New Offices, Data Centers

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Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in. To the office, that is. For Google employees, the words of an aging Michael Corleone may never again ring so true.

Despite Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Meet, Google Chat, Google Cloud, Gmail, and every other remote work-friendly app the search giant has launched, it wants its own employees on site. And it’s paying big money for it. This year, Google will invest $9.5 billion in new offices and data centers, the company said Wednesday.

Work Hard, Play Harder

Beginning last week, hybrid work became the law of the Google land. The company mandated most employees return to the office at least three days a week, and tried to quiet worker grumbles with perks such as hiring a marching band to entertain its Austin, Texas employees and giving its Boulder, Colorado office a brand new arcade. You know, the type of perks that totally make office work more productive than remote work.

Even as employees of its Mountain View, California office complained the return to office caused traffic headaches (apparently Google Maps couldn’t help ease that jam), Alphabet’s flagship subsidiary is forging ahead with plans to expand its physical on-site footprint:

  • Google says it’s using the $9.5 billion investment to open data centers across the country, a new office in Atlanta, and to boost its presence in Boulder and New York. The company says the investment across over a dozen states will lead to 12,000 full-time hires by year’s end.
  • Google spent over $37 billion on offices and data centers in the last five years, including $7 billion last year headlined by the $2.1 billion purchase of a fancy new Manhattan office building.

Just Because it Rhymes With Frugal: Sure, 2021 (when Google employees worked almost entirely from home) marked the most profitable year for Alphabet since 2007. But what’s the point of record profits if not to spend them on private Lizzo concerts to entice Silicon Valley staffers back to the office?