Queen to visit Google's UK HQ

The search giant has invited Queen Elizabeth to view ongoing tech projects at its London base in October

When Queen Elizabeth began her reign in 1952, computers were room-sized machines that cranked through rolls of punched tape.

Five decades later, the monarch is to visit the UK headquarters of search giant Google.

Just four years ago, Queen Elizabeth admitted she didn't own a computer as she bestowed an honorary knighthood on Microsoft's ex-chairman Bill Gates, but now she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, are to grace Google's headquarters in London on 16 October.

The monarch is fast on her way to becoming the world's most famous silver surfer, setting up The Royal Channel on Google-owned video-sharing site YouTube in 2007 and reportedly keeping in touch with her grandchildren, including Prince William and Prince Harry, by email.

In another nod to technological advances, Queen Elizabeth's recent Christmas broadcasts were released as podcasts.

Google said it had invited the royal couple to tour its headquarters and meet staff after the success of The Royal Channel, which has more than 22,000 subscribers.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "The Queen supports all forms of new technology and pays interest to the latest developments."

The palace's website is thought to be set for a revamp, which will see it include more video and put more emphasis on user-friendliness.

A Google spokesperson added: "Our engineers in London are leading the world on a range of mobile products, and our advertising team is working with British industry to help them grow their businesses online."

"The Queen has a keen interest in technology and we're looking forward to showing our guests some of the exciting projects we're working on," the spokesperson said.