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Originally published January 25, 2011 at 7:41 PM | Page modified January 25, 2011 at 10:16 PM

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Google's hiring spree means 6,000 new jobs

Extending a surge that began last year, Google says 2011 will be its largest hiring year ever, plans that would mean the Internet giant will add more than 6,000 new workers over the balance of this year.

San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Extending a surge that began last year, Google says 2011 will be its largest hiring year ever, plans that would mean the Internet giant will add more than 6,000 new workers over the balance of this year.

With the hiring plans, Google will have more than 30,000 employees by the start of 2012, a work force still significantly smaller than Silicon Valley giants like Intel, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, but more than double the size of rivals like Yahoo, and more than six times the size of Facebook.

"Obviously, we're optimistic about the future," Google Senior Vice President Alan Eustace said in an interview Tuesday. "The growth that we're seeing across a lot of different areas is really based on seeds we planted a long time ago."

The surge reflects Google's ambitious plans to become a powerful force in areas of the Internet far beyond its traditional sweet spot of Web search.

The company is rapidly increasing the number of engineers working on initiatives such as its Android operating system for smartphones and tablets, its maps and location-based services that could deliver advertising to users based on their location, and in its Chrome browser and operating-system areas.

"It'll be pretty much across the board," Eustace said of Google's hiring plans.

While much of the hiring will happen in and around Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., the company also plans to add more than 1,000 workers in Europe, many of them in and around its hub in Munich, Germany, departing CEO Eric Schmidt said at a conference in Europe on Tuesday. Google now has more than 60 offices in 30 countries.

About one-third of Google's work force is in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Eustace said the company's 2011 hiring would be weighted at least in that ratio — meaning Google plans to hire at least 2,000 people in that area.

In the Puget Sound area, the company also has a complex of new buildings in Kirkland and offices in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Google wouldn't give specific numbers, but one local manager indicated at least 100 positions will be added this year at the Seattle area sites.

The company now has about 700 employees in Fremont and on the Kirkland campus, where engineers are working on the Chrome browser and operating system, Google Talk, Maps and other projects.

Google last week reported fourth-quarter revenue of $8.44 billion, a 26 percent jump compared with the fourth quarter of 2009. Google notched profit of $2.54 billion, or $7.81 a share, a 29 percent jump over the same quarter in 2009.

Google added 4,565 workers in 2010, a 23 percent jump in its global work force. It was the company's biggest personnel expansion since 2007, Google's biggest year for hiring, when the company added about 6,100 workers.

"We had a fantastic 2010; we had a fantastic 2009, given the situation," Eustace said. "I feel like given what we know now, the prudent decision is to actually expand."

Material from Seattle Times technology reporter Brier Dudley is included in this report.

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