Google to close Krakow office?

It looks like Google is shutting its office in Poland's second city, after engineers were asked to move to Warsaw or other Polish sites.
Written by Michiel van Blommestein, Contributor

While Google has revealed plans for a new headquarters in Silicon Valley, has big ambitions for its London base, and has already revamped its Budapest office, workers at one of its Polish sites could well be forced to up sticks.

Google has asked engineers at its Krakow site to move to the country's capital Warsaw or another one of Google's offices in the country.

According to the local edition of Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, it's likely that the proposed move is a sign Google has plans to do away with the Krakow office altogether, as there's no option for the engineers to stay in the city. Google has confirmed the proposed move, but won't comment on suggestions it's planning to close the office altogether.

"We have proposed to the engineers in Krakow to relocate them to other Google offices, including in Warsaw, where their larger project groups are based," a spokeswoman for Google Poland told ZDNet. "We're now consulting with affected employees."

She added that Google is not planning to scale down operations in Poland at all and that the company is constantly hiring in the country.

For some, the announcement comes as a surprise, not least to the owner of the building where Google rents its office space. A little over half a year ago, it was reported Google was actually planning to expand in Krakow due to the constant hiring of new people in the city. Right now, the R&D center in Krakow shares a small building with some luxury shops at the Main Market, the central square of the city.

As for the reason for the move, little is known. One anonymous source suggested to Wyborcza that Google wanted far more space than was available at its current premium location. However, other buildings the company was considering in the city (a former tobacco factory that has been vacant for years, for example) were simply too expensive.

Google has been operating in Krakow since 2006, attracted by the host of universities situated in the city and the presence of international tech companies there.

As native Krakow-ite Wojciech Burkot told Central European Processing in 2013: "Tech companies tend to cluster because of movement of people and available expertise. If you are the only tech company, you get some kind of inbred culture. You cannot compete against others and there is no healthy cross-pollination."

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