Google buys more land in Europe for data-center construction

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(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google bought 70 hectares (173 acres) of land in the Netherlands as it explores options for constructing more data centers across Europe.

The company said it’s still considering whether to build on the site in Noord-Holland, but that a decision will be made soon.

"We want to ensure that we have options to continue to expand our data center presence in Europe if our business demands it," Google spokesman Mark Jansen said Thursday.

Google already owns a data center in the northeastern town of Eemshaven in the Netherlands, and announced earlier this year it would invest 500 million euros ($582.2 million) to expand it, after initially spending 600 million euros. The search giant also recently bought plots of land in Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden, and in February said it would invest further in its Belgian site.

Google didn’t disclose how much it spent on the plot of land outside of Amsterdam. Other tech firms, including Microsoft Corp., have built data centers in the area, which offers a relatively cheap supply of sustainable electricity, according to the Netherlands’ foreign investment agency.

Tech companies are racing to build more such facilities as businesses and individuals increasingly store more data online and want rapid access to it. Google’s data centers are used to run the company’s computing services, which enable email, maps, search, photos, YouTube and more.

Mountain View, California-based Google, which is lagging behind Inc. and Microsoft in cloud services, said in April that the bulk of $7.7 billion in capital expenditures last quarter went toward infrastructure to expand its cloud and artificial intelligence efforts.

A number of companies are benefiting from Europe’s data-center growth. France’s Schneider Electric SE has said it’s getting a boost from an increase in orders for equipment to run them, and Norway wants its abundant hydro power to act as a lure for tech companies to build there.

Not every location in Europe has seen success however: Apple Inc. recently shelved a plan to build a $1 billion data center in the west of Ireland.

--With assistance from Mark Bergen

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