Google looks set to place huge bets on Canada’s artificial intelligence (AI) segment, with the tech giant’s parent, Alphabet, praising Canada’s federal government for establishing the resources necessary for AI research.
At a recent Go North conference, an annual tech event in Canada, Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Alphabet, said AI was a major driver of the group’s corporate success, adding that all his company’s subsidiaries were focusing on the technology.
Google and its sister firms, including DeepMind and SidewalkLabs, are all seeking to hire Canadian talent and develop deep ties with universities and research centers in Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton.
Google is among the backers of the Vector Institute, a Toronto-based artificial intelligence research lab that is part of Ottawa’s strategy to drive innovation in Canada. This is in addition to Google’s AI lab in Montreal, which the tech giant launched in November 2016.
Google is a major player in Ottawa’s strategy to bring together academia and industry to spur innovation in various areas, particularly AI.
SidewalkLabs has agreed to build a high-tech neighborhood on the Toronto Waterfront. As part of the deal, Google Canada will relocate their headquarters to eastern waterfront.
According to Canadian papers, the Waterloo-Toronto corridor is home to the largest number of startups outside of Silicon Valley.
What made Google to fall in love with Canada is the country’s flexible immigration laws, said Schmidt.
President Donald Trump’s immigration ban on some Muslim countries and a proposed reform to the H1B visa program are causing discomfort among foreign workers in US tech hubs.
Canada, however, is relaxing immigration laws and trying to absorb as many foreign tech workers as it can.