Google in talks to join “new Silicon Valley”

The Olympic Media Centre site under construction: dgeezer @ flickr

Internet giants Google are in talks to take over the Olympic Media Centre in Hackney after the games have finished, Olympic organisers have revealed.

Along with Facebook, Cisco and Intel, the web behemoth could become part of an influx of high-tech industries to the capital, after the Prime Minister said he wanted to create “a great technology centre” in East London, to rival California’s Silicon Valley.

However some local residents have said that they feel uncomfortable with the potential move.

Neil McDevin of the Olympic Legacy Company told residents at a meeting on Tuesday that the centre, which will host over 2,000 journalists during the Games, has generated much interest from Google.

However when asked whether the people of Hackney would want such a corporate investment he replied: “I wouldn’t know, it is still early stages”.

Inigo Manby, 25 a film-maker who lives in Hackney Wick said: “It would be very nice if it integrated into the community, but it would have to be very well organised.”

Nicola Benjamin, 42 who works for the borough’s social housing also questioned the contribution to the area asking: “What is it going to mean for the Hackney people? [They] need to bring something to the community.”

Google have not said whether they would be able to provide jobs for the area, but in a statement they said: “We know London’s potential first hand and employ hundreds of talented engineers here.”

Dennis Richards, 34 who is unemployed, living in Hackney said: “If they can bring jobs to the area then great, but I’m not sure it’s what Hackney needs.”

The proposed purchase follows an announcement from David Cameron in which he set out plans to “bring together the creativity and energy of Shoreditch and the incredible possibilities of the Olympic Park to help make east London one of the world’s great technology centres.”

He said that the response to potential investment from international technology firms was “overwhelming” and that Britain needs to have the “businesses of tomorrow”.

Other companies that are reportedly planning to invest in areas of east London are Facebook, Cisco, Intel and British Telecom.

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