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Google opens new Research Center in Zürich
The Google Europe Development Center
SmilS




msg:202178
 11:47 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

In December Google had announced that opens new Research Center in Zurich. That will be the second Research and Development Center outside of the USA. Neue Zuericher Zeitung (NZZ) from 28 Januar- in German:
[nzz.ch...]

 

glengara




msg:202208
 10:11 pm on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

If it had to be CH, I'd have gone for Lausanne ;-)

ThatAdamGuy




msg:202209
 7:19 am on Jan 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

My impressions while in Switzerland:

HAPPY THINGS:
- Great chocolate.
- Gorgeous women.
- Smart, multi-lingual people.
- Decent public transit.
- Beautiful architecture and landscapes! Snow is gorgeous to look at.

UNHAPPY THINGS:
- Expensive expensive expensive (from the perspective of an American).
- German was occasionally a bit hard to decipher (but my German ain't very good to start with).
- Internet (esp. broadband) is still not as good as in Germany, and it can be -- you guessed it -- very expensive.
- Cold cold cold cold cold!

Anyway, regarding GoogleThings... I agree with earlier posters that opening up a research lab in Switzerland is an absolutely brilliant move all-round.

DrOliver




msg:202210
 9:03 am on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's time for me to speak up: I am a Swiss born in Zurich, and lived here ever since.

I've read quite a few things here I feel the need to correct.

While this might be so totally wrong that it gets funny:

But whilst I was there I did note the total lack of dynamism. You are not even allowed to work after certain hours by law.

A friend of mine was questioned by police for being in the office at 10pm!

Man, what are you trying to tell us? :-) All Swiss go to bed at 10pm or something? Lack of dynamism? Zurich? Switzerland does go slower, but not because there's lack of dynamism, IMHO. We just scrutinize everything :-)

Next one is not quite the whole truth:

Seriously, I also believe the tax issue is probably the foremost reason Zurich was chosen.

There was an interview with Hölzle on a Swiss radio station the other day. He said that one of the reasons is also the high wages paied in Switzerland. This is one of the (many) reasons Switzerland is attractive for highly skilled people. Others (my opinion, Hölzle did not mention them on radio) being multilingualism, low taxes, nice landscapes, short distances, extremely well developed network of transport links (trains, airports, busses, tramways, highways) a.s.o.

HAPPY THINGS:
- Great chocolate.
- Gorgeous women.
- Smart, multi-lingual people.
- Decent public transit.
- Beautiful architecture and landscapes! Snow is gorgeous to look at.

UNHAPPY THINGS:
- Expensive expensive expensive (from the perspective of an American).
- German was occasionally a bit hard to decipher (but my German ain't very good to start with).
- Internet (esp. broadband) is still not as good as in Germany, and it can be -- you guessed it -- very expensive.
- Cold cold cold cold cold!

You sure are right with the "happy things". Let me say something about the "unhappy things".

Expensive: That's true not only from the perspective of an American. But let's not forget the wages paied in Switzerland.
German language: what people speak here in Zurich is Swiss-German, but all speak high-German too. Many speak English, lots speak French and some even a fourth language. Most if not all switch to another language immediately if they hear (or think) you're not quite familiar with the language spoken.
Internet (broadband): catching up, the next big step is a doubling in speed in the middle of February 2004 while keeping the same prices. Prices not being stable (going down is more likely to happen).
Cold cold cold: True for winter time. Well, where do you think comes the snow from? And it gives you a good reason to huggle each and every of the
Gorgeous women
you mentioned. Watch out though, if you huggle my wife, living in Switzerland can become dangerous ...

Sticky me if you want to know more. I will happily share a link to a real media stream of a Swiss tv station with Hölzle in Zurich the other day (Swiss German spoken, hehe).

Herenvardo




msg:202211
 10:44 am on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Zurich is in the heart of Europe and has close access to native speakers in all the major European languages.

TDo this mean that Google España will become more spanish and less latino-american? Great!
When I search for results in Spanish, I get a lot of Spanglish!

Greetings,
Herenvardö

bird




msg:202212
 11:52 am on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

real media stream of a Swiss tv station with Hölzle in Zurich the other day (Swiss German spoken, hehe).

Which means that Hölzle is swiss himself. That might already have been reason enough for him to open offices there... ;)

zgb999




msg:202213
 9:20 am on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

This might be true.

In an interview he mentioned that there were many good people from ETH in Silicon Valey and that he is pleased to give something back to ETH that made him to what he became...

dirkz




msg:202214
 7:52 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

> You are not even allowed to work after certain hours by law.

DrOliver, is it really true that Swiss people are allowed to work as long as they want? :)

div01




msg:202215
 1:49 am on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I must say I am a little surprised at the lack of whining...quite different from another related thread from a few months ago.

Sinner_G




msg:202216
 7:27 am on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

>DrOliver, is it really true that Swiss people are allowed to work as long as they want?

Not as much as they want, as much as their employer makes them (in my case at least) ;)

>surprised at the lack of whining

Why should there be any whining? No job cuts anywhere else (at least that's what they say).

SlyOldDog




msg:202217
 9:31 am on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am sure about the working hours. Unless the law changed since I worked in Lausanne in 1999.

Admittedly Lausanne is not Zurich and each canton has its own rules, but Switerland is a very difficult place for foreigners to work.

These are the things I remember:

- Not only a restriction on working hours, but also on the hour of the day you can work. Like I said, my friend was surfing in the office and the Police wanted to check if he was working at 10pm. Maybe Zurich is different?

- Random police checks to see if you have a work permit. Pulling cars off the road to check.

- If you get a work permit for one canton it isn't valid in another. My job was field based so that was a disaster.

- I was there because the company could not get the Swiss staff to work. I cost twice as much as a local but the company was desperate because they had deadlines.

- If you get a permit it doesn't entitle you to any medical cover or to bring your family. For that you need to work a few years and get a better permit.

- You only get full rights after you have worked non stop in Switerland for 10 years. If you have a small break in your permits your status goes back to zero.

I was looking recently at emmigrating to Switerland (becuase I still love it despite its work laws), and it seems to move there without an employment offer you need to qualify by owning disgusting wealth. And the immigration policy id so complicated you need to hire an agent who charges 5000 euro a head to fill out the papers.

One other very strange quirk - non residents are only allowed to own 2nd grade apartments. They cannot buy land or houses. There are rules about which apartments foreigners can buy. I ask you.....!

So in summary - if you are Swiss you probably don't even notice these things, but if you aren't, watch out.

bird




msg:202218
 12:29 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Switerland is a very difficult place for foreigners to work.

I have seen horror storied unfold myself, and that in Zurich of all places. On the other hand, Switzerland is the western country with the highest rate of resident aliens by quite a margin. Something around 16 or 17% of all inhabitants don't carry a swiss passport. I think the average rate in Europe is below 5%.

If you get a work permit for one canton it isn't valid in another.

Federalism at work, eh? ;) Remember, "Confederatio Helvetica" basically means "The United States of Switzerland" (thus the "ch" ISO country code). Of course, that limitation only applies for certain types of permits that are more volatile than others. Did you have a regular job there, or just a temporary contract?

If you get a permit it doesn't entitle you to any medical cover

Those two things are really independent of each other. Of course you need health care insurance, but the possibility to get that shouldn't depend on your type of permit (assuming it's a "regular" permit).

You only get full rights after you have worked non stop in Switerland for 10 years.

After 10 years of residency, you can apply for swiss citicenship. You'll get an unlimited permit (type "C") much earlier.

and it seems to move there without an employment offer you need to qualify by owning disgusting wealth.

This is identical to the requirements for immigrating to the USA, just that the amount is more standardized there. In Switzerland, the required amount will be determined by the local community. Yes, that means that the local village council can decide about your fate (they will also decide about your citicenship application after you have lived there for 10 years). In the USA, national law states that you'll automatically get a green card when you invest at least one million dollars in a business.

And the immigration policy id so complicated you need to hire an agent who charges 5000 euro a head to fill out the papers.

All you need is an employer who understands the local (cantonal) requirements. Reading all the stuff you write about the topic, my assumption is that your employer was rather clueless, and told you stuff they didn't really know much about themselfes. Can't blame you for getting a few wrong impressions that way!

SlyOldDog




msg:202219
 4:19 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Heh Heh. My employer was Nokia :). Clueless? Perhaps, but if they could not get their act together, who could?

You have some valid points and I deliberately was over dramatic, but I just wanted to emphasize how awkward it is doing business there as a foreigner. I am active in several countries now and I found the Swiss employment law enforcement the toughest I have ever encountered. Of course other countries have tough laws too, but Switzerland enforces them.

franckey79




msg:202220
 11:25 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

from my point of view, it is odd that Google's choosed Zurich beacause Suisee in not in European Union. If European Union country had been choosen, it would have been much easier for talented labour to move and work for Google. At these moment, there are obstacles to work in Suisee for EU citizens either non-EU. And renember - after 1 May 2004 EU will consits of 25 coutries. That's why this decision is strange for me.

DrOliver




msg:202221
 8:44 am on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

From my point of view, it is odd that Google's choosed Zurich beacause Suisee in not in European Union. If European Union country had been choosen, it would have been much easier for talented labour to move and work for Google.

That is not true anymore. There are new contracts between the E.U. and Switzerland which make it easy for citizens of the E.U. to work in Switzerland and vice versa.

The new members of the E.U. (mostly Eastern-European countries) won't benefit for a few years, though. Talks still going on.

dirkz




msg:202222
 5:59 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Not as much as they want, as much as their employer makes them (in my case at least) ;)

Ok, I take that back :)

> From my point of view, it is odd that Google's choosed Zurich

Are patents easier to get/enforce there?

bird




msg:202223
 7:03 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Are patents easier to get/enforce there?

I don't think that Google (or any largish corporation) would go for national patents in Europe, when you can cover them all in one [european-patent-office.org].

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