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Google to build new UK headquarters in London, wacky design likely

google londonGoogle is splashing the cash, having just purchased 2.4 acres of prime real estate in central London, close to the UK capital’s King’s Cross railway station.

In a deal worth around £1 billion ($1.6 billion), the land will be used for the construction of an 11-story building to head up the Web giant’s UK operations.

The site, which was cleared as part of a regeneration project in the area, is already home to the Guardian newspaper and Central St. Martins Art College.

“This is a big investment by Google,” Matt Brittin, Google vice-president for northern and central Europe, said. “We’re committing further to the UK – where computing and the web were invented. It’s good news for Google, for London and for the UK.”

Google currently has two offices in London, one in Victoria and the other in Holborn. Staff at these locations will transfer to King’s Cross some time in 2015, when the new building is expected to be completed.

The company also has a presence in the east of the capital in what’s known as Tech City, a burgeoning media and technology hub housing companies such as Facebook, Intel and Cisco. Google’s seven-story campus provides facilities for entrepreneurs with ideas for new start-ups, and encourages collaboration between individuals and groups on new project ideas. Weekly mentoring programs and special networking events are laid on by Google, too.

With the Mountain View company well known for its unique office designs, it’s going to be fun to discover what its designers have in store for the new King’s Cross location, especially as they’ll be starting from scratch as opposed to moving into an existing building.

Google’s UK operations hit the headlines recently when it was accused – along with Amazon and Starbucks – of diverting profits from their UK operations in order to avoid paying taxes in the country.

[via FT]

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Trevor Mogg
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Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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Perhaps the original plans weren’t quite wacky enough. Maybe there weren’t enough surprises. Whatever the truth is, Google has nonetheless decided to return to the drawing board for the design of its proposed UK headquarters in London.
The change of plan means the new offices will be unlikely to welcome Googlers until 2017, a year later than originally planned.

According to Business Design Online (via 9to5Google), Google has asked the building’s designers, architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, to come up with “a new design within the original floor plan that will push the boundaries of office design and better fit the needs of the local community.”
Google had little to say on the matter, except, “We have a great plan for the new building at King’s Cross but we want to challenge ourselves to do something even better for Google, King’s Cross and for the local community.”

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Although the technology has been around for a while, it’ll be the first time it’s been used on such a large scale by a UK retail firm.
Amscreen chairman Simon Sugar described it as being “like something out of Minority Report,” adding, “This could change the face of British retail, and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible.”
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With privacy campaigners raising a collective eyebrow over Tesco’s plans to collect data from customers at the cash register, a spokesperson for the chain explained that no images will be stored by the system, adding that Amscreen’s technology does not include eyeball scanners or facial-recognition software.
Tesco’s revelation that it intends to start using the face-scanning system brings to mind a report from last year about several high-profile clothing stores gathering customer data using a camera embedded in the eye of a mannequin located in a store’s display window.
The EyeSee technology, developed by Italian mannequin manufacturer Almax, analyzes the facial features of people passing by the store, “providing statistical and contextual information useful to the development of targeted marketing strategies.”
And in a move that would likely cause steam to blast from the ears of privacy campaigners, Almax was reported to be testing manneqins with mics so retailers could find out what customers were saying about their latest line of clothes.
[Image: Igor Stevanovic / Shutterstock]
Below: A demo of Amscreen's OptimEyes tech.

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'Sweet spot'
Argos technology trading manager Simon Barry said that regarding price and performance, he believes the new tablet “hits the sweet spot.”
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The retailer’s managing director, John Walden, is confident the budget-priced tablet will sell well over the holiday season.
“Millions of people have bought tablets during the last year but there is still around 75 per cent of the UK population without one,” he said. “We know that tablets will feature heavily on Christmas lists this year.”
As with Tesco and its Hudl device, MyTablet’s attractive price tag suggests Argos is attempting to follow in Amazon’s footsteps, making little or no profit on sales of the device while instead aiming to gain revenue by pushing its goods and services via the tablet.
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[Via BBC] [Image: Pocket-lint]

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