Google CEO Sundar Pichai Plays Up U.S. Hiring During Earnings Call

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During Google’s latest earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized that the search giant is hiring U.S. workers.

“This year to date, we have added over 9,000 new employees in the U.S.,” Pichai said in a call with analysts on Thursday coinciding with fiscal third quarter earnings report for Google parent company Alphabet.

Pichai’s comments come amid President Donald Trump’s criticism of U.S. companies hiring workers and conducting major operations overseas. In September, Trump said that the prices of Apple products could increase because of increased tariffs on China and urged the company to “make your products in the United States instead of China.” The Trump administration then exempted some Apple products from being affected by the tariffs.

The Google CEO spent time discussing how the search giant is “investing closer to home,” reporting that Google spent over 80% of its total capital expenditures for the third quarter on data center facilities and offices in the U.S. This means that of the roughly $5.3 billion Google spent on capital expenditures in the third quarter, about $4.24 billion were dedicated to U.S. facilities.

“They have a strong, positive impact on the communities around them, supporting thousands of jobs,” Pichai said of the company’s spending on U.S. data centers and offices.

Pichai’s comments come after U.S. lawmakers criticized and demanded more information from Google regarding the existence of a censored search engine for China, dubbed Project Dragonfly. Pichai confirmed earlier in October that Google was testing a search engine for China, but said it was only “exploratory” in nature.

When an analyst asked Pichai about a possible Chinese search product during the earnings call, the executive did not reply specifically about Project Dragonfly, saying that Google is “constantly looking for ways to better service Chinese users.”

“That is where we are today,” he added.

Overall, Google said its third quarter revenue increased 21% year-over-year to $33.74 billion in the third quarter. Analysts, however, were expecting $34.05 billion in third-quarter sales.

Google shares were down 3.8% in after-hours trading $1,054.

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The search giant’s third-quarter earnings coincided with the publication of a major New York Times investigation that detailed how Google paid the creator of the Android operating system, Andy Rubin, $90 million to resign quietly after the company found credible allegations by a female employee that the executive had forced her into a sexual act. Google later released a memo on Thursday signed by Pichai and the company’s HR chief, in which the two executives said the report was a “troubling read,” and that the company had fired 48 employees for issues related to sexual harassment over the past two years.

Pichai did not mention Rubin or the Times story during earnings call, nor did any Wall Street analyst ask him to comment on it.