Facebook announced the opening of its first non-US engineering centre in London today. Located in Covent Garden, the centre will focus on the products that improve users' mobile experiences.
The base of operations is Facebook’s Covent Garden offices, which was formerly used by advertising, public relations and support staff. The centre will now house twenty engineers, twelve of whom are American imports. The team will be led by Facebook's head of UK engineering Phillip Su, whose previous credits include the integration of Skype with the social network. Other members of his ‘launch team’ have been involved in the development of Ticker, Timeline and Facebook’s App Center.
The British contingent are a “handful of local recruits” who are currently undergoing a six-week boot camp at Facebook's Menlo Park, California headquarters. Facebook has indicated that recruitment is still ongoing.
The new R&D installation will be the first to be located outside of the US and will focus on developing products for mobile, platform and machine learning.
Phillip Su expanded upon this saying, “London is obviously a great place to build a mobile team, especially on the Android client. London is a great place to build platform. London is the world’s second highest concentration of Facebook-registered third party developers."
“We’re also working on reducing net latency and being much more conservative with the bandwidth we consume, and being much more conservative with the bandwidth we consume," he went on to say about platform development.
“Finally machine learning. There is so much PhD-level talent that our team hopes to work with world-class talent in that domain," he added.
Facebook vice president of engineering Mike Schroepfer explained the company's choice to plant roots in the city of London saying, “When you look at all the places where we have put engineering centers there are two defining factors: there has to be an indigenous talent base, and an indigenous educational system. Cambridge is not very far away.”