Google expands Asian reach

Popular U.S.-based search service provider Google has launched a Web site in Australia following its recent debut in Singapore, Finland and the United Arab Emirates.

Popular U.S.-based search service provider Google has launched a Web site in Australia following its recent debut in Singapore, Finland and the United Arab Emirates.

"We try to offer a local site to as many users around the world as possible...and Australia is the latest to go live," said Debbie Frost, Google's spokeswoman.

Although only a few days old, the Australian site has already begun advertising for sales personnel to be based in Sydney. "We hope to make a big announcement early in the new year," Frost added.

Web businesses Down Under have welcomed the move, saying that Google's new search facility will boost traffic to Web sites in the country given the popularity of the service.

Anthony Dever, managing director of Queensland-based hosting company Hosting Buzz, predicted that his business will grow as much as 40 percent in the coming months.

"Australian Web marketers will benefit greatly as they can now get higher listings on the search engine without having to compete with international companies," Dever said.

ZDNet Australia's Jeanne-Vida Douglas reported from Sydney.

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