Google sets up SA office

Paul Vecchiatto
By Paul Vecchiatto, ITWeb Cape Town correspondent
Cape Town, 14 Aug 2006

US search engine powerhouse Google has advertised three job positions in SA, which could mean it is planning to set up a local office either in Johannesburg or Cape Town.

The Google jobs page is advertising four jobs in Africa: one is in Morocco and the rest are in SA.

The South African jobs are for a country manager, a vertical account manager and a multi-sector vertical head. The Moroccan opening is for a country consultant.

At the time of publication, Google had not responded to questions e-mailed to it late last week. No time frame is known as to when it plans to open its South African office.

The presence of the global search engine brand in this country has roused the interest of local competitors.

Mark Buwalda, MD of South African search engine, says rumours of such a move by Google have been circulating for some time.

"Obviously this will have an impact on the local market and it will force players in this space to take their Internet strategies more seriously," he says.

Buwalda says Google`s approach to the vertical markets is that it moves from one to another, selling them on the idea of greater Internet advertising and participation, and giving them the tools to do so.

"Vertical markets have always been a strength of theirs. However, they are an American company and American companies have shown to be quick in pulling out once things go wrong," Buwalda says.