More than 15 years after Google opened its first office in Cambridge, the tech giant has developed a sprawling campus in Kendall Square that got bigger during the pandemic and is still growing.
The company announced Wednesday that it plans to invest more than $75 million this year into its long-planned expansion in Kendall. It’s a part of the company’s nationwide initiative, unveiled last month, to invest more than $9.5 billion in offices and data centers across the US.
Google’s Kendall Square campus will soon include four separate buildings totaling about one million square feet, making it one of the neighborhood’s largest tenants. The company employs more than 2,100 people locally, but its workforce could grow to 5,000 when the expansion is complete, said Liz Schwab, head of Google’s external affairs for New England, though she did not provide a timeline.
Employees based in Cambridge work on several different Google projects, from Google Travel to YouTube to Google Chrome.
At an event held at Google’s office on Wednesday to announce the investment, Rich Miner, cofounder of the Android operating system, said that when Google bought his company in 2005, it didn’t take too much effort to convince the technology firm to establish an office presence in Cambridge.
“There were just a lot of reasons why I thought it made sense to invest here,” he said after the event, citing the talent coming out of local universities, as well as the number of Android employees who wanted to stay in Boston, rather than move to Silicon Valley (including himself). “We’re proud to have our roots here.”
Google employees in Cambridge started going into the company’s offices on a hybrid schedule last month after more than two years of working remotely. Google’s local offices The spaces feature perks such as like in-house baristas, cafeterias that serve breakfast and lunch, and video game rooms.
Plans for Google to grow its office footprint in Kendall Square have been a long time coming.
The company said in 2019 that it would to lease most of a new office tower being built on Main Street, which is expected to open later this year. Google will occupy 380,000 square feet across 14 of the building’s 16 floors.
And in March 2021, even though its employees were still working from home, Google grew its local office footprint by more than 200,000 square feet elsewhere, expanding in existing offices and renovating eight stories of other office space.
Congresswoman Katherine Clark, the House’s assistant speaker, said at the event on Wednesday that Google has been a “critical component of Massachusetts’ thriving innovation economy.” She referenced several examples of Google supporting local nonprofits over the years, including its recent partnership with Visible Hands, a venture capital firm that works with underrepresented founders.
“These initiatives are making a real difference for real people,” Clark said.