Google and Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), have announced a billion dollar five-year partnership to expand cloud infrastructure, set up a research hub, and collaborate on national clean energy and artificial intelligence missions.
The five-year investment is part of Google’s larger Digital Future Initiative, which was launched on November 16 with the opening of Google’s expanded Sydney office. The initiative is expected to support 6,529 new direct jobs and 28,057 total jobs across Australia, as well as deliver $1.259 billion in direct investment and $6.716 billion in total economic impact.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the investment would help accelerate small businesses’ digital transformations, create jobs, and help solve common problems.
“Australia can help lead the world’s next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress on shared challenges.
“To help, we’re proud to make a five year, $1 billion commitment to launch the Digital Future Initiative, and help bring the benefits of technology to more Australians.”
Meanwhile, the initiative builds on Google’s work in Australia over the last two decades by investing in the foundations of the digital economy, including a significant investment in digital infrastructure, Australian-made technology and talent with the first-ever Australian Google Research Hub, and partnerships to solve big challenges, including a collaboration with the CSIRO.
This isn’t the first time that the CSIRO and Google have worked together. The CSIRO has launched four missions this year: boosting Australia’s hydrogen sector, enhancing agrifood exports, expanding the protein market, and improving farm drought resilience.
These missions will generate jobs and stimulate economic growth, and more are in the works to reduce plastic waste, combat antimicrobial resistance, and secure the supply of essential energy metals that will support net zero technology.
Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive, CSIRO said, ”CSIRO solves Australia’s greatest challenges through innovative science and technology, but our partnerships with industry are what makes those solutions real – because when industry innovates Australia grows.
“CSIRO’s science makes life better for every Australian, and when amplified by Google’s Technology it will catalyse collaborative projects across our entire national innovation system, driving opportunity for businesses of all sizes across every market,” he said.
Partnerships to solve big challenges
As part of this initiative, Google is also increasing its investment in quantum computing in Australia in collaboration with Macquarie University. This study to advance quantum computing has far-reaching future implications, such as improved batteries and more efficient fertiliser production.
Google will also build Google Research Australia – Google’s first ever research hub in Australia. Partnering with the research community across the country and Google Research hubs around the world will bring together a team of local researchers and engineers to explore ways AI can help tackle issues that are important in Australia.
Mel Silva, Google Australia MD, said the Digital Future Initiative was about helping accelerate our country’s progress to becoming a leading digital economy.
“The Digital Future Initiative is about bringing significant technology resources and capabilities to Australia, investing in the infrastructure that benefits people and businesses, and helping the best talent thrive here,” Ms Silva said.
“A strong digital future creates opportunities, improves the everyday and enables the extraordinary – and we’d love to help Australia and Australians make the most of the opportunity and build for tomorrow.”
Google, along with other tech giants, have recently been targeted by Australian regulators for anti-competitive tactics such as developing computing systems that favour their own services. In response, Google threatened to remove its search engine from Australia over the government’s plans to force tech companies to share royalties with news organisations.