Google opens developer space in Singapore

Inspired by the cafes in Silicon Valley that developers hang out at to meet fellow coders and potential employers, Google has opened a similar space at its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore for the developer community in Southeast Asia.

The first of its kind for Google in the region, the 7,200 square feet space is configurable to suit different needs, whether it’s machine learning workshops or conferences of up to 200 participants, said Sami Kizilbash, Google’s programme manager for developer ecosystem in Southeast Asia.

With food being served freely at Google offices and campuses around the globe, the space also features a micro-kitchen that serves food for hungry developers, complete with catering support for events.

And needless to say, developers working at the space will also get easy access to Google’s resources, including its people, programs, network and technologies.

Lending support to Google’s new developer space was Singapore’s minister of communications and information S. Iswaran, who noted at an opening event that the new facility will augment the country’s efforts to boost the digital capabilities of Singapore-based firms.

These efforts include the TechSkills Accelerator programme to train existing IT pros and people aspiring to join the tech sector, as well as the AI apprenticeship programme announced in August 2018.

The networking opportunities afforded by Google’s developer space will also encourage sharing of ideas and collaboration, enabling local enterprises and talent to become more innovative and competitive, Iswaran said.

The investment that Google is making in its new developer space underscores the company’s growing efforts to lure more developers to create applications on its platform rather than that of its rivals.

It is also doing so in areas where it has a competitive edge, particularly in AI and machine learning. In November 2018, it organised a machine learning bootcamp and has since hosted more than 1,200 developers at the new space.

While the battle for developer mindshare among tech companies has been hotting up for some time now, Google’s latest salvo bodes well for Singapore which has been pitching itself as a magnet and breeding ground for high-quality technology talent in Asia and beyond.

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