Big Tech May Look Troubled, but It’s Just Getting Started
But Diridon Station is just a part of Google’s Silicon Valley expansion. A week before the company got the two houses, it bought a 100,000-square-foot building in Palo Alto, Calif., for $70 million.
Facebook keeps growing, too. In the spring, it leased one million square feet in the Silicon Valley community of Sunnyvale for its fast-growing community operations team, which deals with safety and security issues confronting Facebook users. And it will soon move this year into 750,000 square feet in a San Francisco tower, making it the third-biggest tech tenant in the city, after Salesforce and Uber.
In total, Google’s employment increased 21 percent in the last year. Facebook’s work force rose by 45 percent in that time, to 34,000, and it is advertising 2,700 additional jobs.
Amazon’s head count tripled over the last three years, thanks to its warehouses and the acquisition of Whole Foods. It is only the second company in the United States to employ more than 500,000 people — and that is not counting its contractors.
The expansion underlines the dizzying truth of Big Tech: It is barely getting started.
“For all intents and purposes, we’re only 35 years into a 75- or 80-year process of moving from analog to digital,” said Tim Bajarin, a longtime tech consultant to companies including Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “The image of Silicon Valley as Nirvana has certainly taken a hit, but the reality is that we the consumers are constantly voting for them.”
That’s evident in how robust Big Tech’s businesses remain. Last March, the research firm eMarketer said Facebook, including its less controversial photo-sharing site, Instagram, would earn $21 billion this year from digital ads in the United States. In September, it raised that forecast to $22.87 billion.
EMarketer also revised up its forecasts of Google’s digital ad revenues in the United States for 2018, 2019 and 2020. The third big digital advertising recipient is Amazon, which is far behind the leaders but gaining ground fast.