London has been chosen by social networking champion Facebook to become the home of its first engineering centre outside the US. The Covent Garden-based facility will focus on building products that enhance the mobile user experience, ITProPortal reports.
The centre will be populated by a 20-member engineering team led by Phillip Su, Facebook's engineering chief for the UK. Su is the person responsible for, among other things, integrating Skype with Facebook. Twelve members of the team have been brought over from the US and the rest are British recruits. The locals are currently in Menlo Park, California - the location of Facebook's headquarters. The Britons have been whisked across the pond for a six-week training course and Facebook has indicated that the recruitment process is still under way.
Commenting on London's choice, Su said that the UK capital was the obvious place to go. It is an amazing place for putting together a mobile team, particularly if one wanted an Android bias. London is also an excellent place to develop products for platform and mobile learning. The city ranks second globally when it comes to the concentration of Facebook-registered third-party developers and the abundance of PhD-level talent makes it a great location for initiatives related to machine learning, Su added.
Mike Schroepfer, vice-president of engineering at Facebook, said that the company's choice of locations for engineering centres is determined by two factors: the presence of a local talent base and a local educational system. The case for London has been bolstered by the fact that Cambridge is not a long distance away, Schroepfer noted.
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