Will Google have a technological hub or a call center in Oeiras?

  • ECO News
  • 25 January 2018

The Government announced an investment from Google in Portugal, of a services center and a technological hub. But Mike Butcher, a technology journalist, assures it will be "just a call center".

PM António Costa and the editor of TechCrunch, Mike Butcher. Photo montage, Web Summit and Wikimedia Commons.

The news that Portugal will receive Google’s hub was disclosed by the Portuguese PM in Davos, this Wednesday. António Costa stated that “Portugal will soon receive an investment from Google” and that “several countries were fighting for the investment”. The information was happily received by the Portuguese; yet, according to the journalist Mike Butcher, “it’s just a call center”.

Mike Butcher is the senior editor of Tech Crunch, one of the oldest newspapers specializing in technology. This Wednesday, he shared on his twitter account a piece of news by Reuters, stating:

A few hours later, in an answer to his own tweet, the journalist wrote: “Ok everyone stand down. It’s just a call center“. To ECO, Mike Butcher mentions that he got the information from “Portuguese sources”.

The information seems to go against the news disclosed by the Government and Google, namely concerning the creation of over 500 qualified job positions. The State secretary for Internationalization, Eurico Brilhante Dias, had stated that the company already has 7,000 square meters and that, “according to Google itself”, it will have 535 jobs. The State secretary went even further and stated that those jobs will concern the areas of information and communication technologies, “ranging from information management to engineering, in a broad array of skills”.

The question remains: will this really be a technological hub? Or is it, after all, a call center? ECO asked the Government for clarifications, but did not yet receive answers. As for Google, the company refused to provide further comments on the issue in addition to what had been disclosed: the center will be “fully dedicated to suppliers”.

However, a source close to the Government told ECO that Google’s hub in Portugal will comprehend “central services”. It should be a kind of “European backoffice”, similar to Google’s headquarter in Dublin (Ireland). Nonetheless, and although it will be “related to technology”, the hub should have a different focus: it should receive, among others, the “financial department” of the multinational, which could “receive up to 2,000 people”, without any “public aid”.