Google to house startups in San Francisco's Mission district

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Feb 17, 2014 01:39 AM EST

In a bid to hire engineers who do not want to work in its headquarters in Silicon Valley, Google has taken over the site of a former printworks in the hip Mission district of San Francisco, the Financial Times reported.

FT quoted a person in the neighborhood as saying, "When Google is buying companies, they don't want to work in the big corporate building in San Francisco or Mountain View. So they are acquiring something cool in the Mission where engineers want to work." Google has not made any comment, the report said.

Sources told FT that the 35,000 square feet space is reserved by the search giant as an area to house the startups it has acquired. The former office of newspaper and catalogue printer Howard Quinn is big enough to accommodate 200 people. Located on 298 Alabama Street, the printer had been in business for half a century when it closed in 2012. The increasing popularity of online publishing, fuelled by the technology of the search company, has proven to be very detrimental to printers, the report said.

Hardware firms could utilize the site for gadget and device development since the building which was constructed in the 1920s is zoned for manufacturing. With the leasing of the space, Google could be thinking of acquiring more startups focused on making hardware as it grows from web search and dips its hand into other markets like wearable technology, robotics and the Internet of Things, the report said.

Google purchased "smart home" devices maker Nest Labs in a $3.2 billion deal. It also acquired San Francisco-based Bot and Dolly, a San Francisco-based firm that gives robotics for filmmakers. Its newest purchase is that of Israeli-based SlickLogin, a startup that develops security technology, the report said.

The move highlights the growing trend of Internet firms in Silicon Valley where a fierce competition for tech talent has led them to expand in San Francisco so they can lure new employees who don't want to commute to Mountain View, Palo Alto and Cupertino, the report said.

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