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Facebook opens R&D centre in London

17th Oct 12 11:04 am

London’s reputation as the strongest tech hub in Europe took a major boost this week as Facebook unveiled its research and development facility in the capital.

The Covent Garden R&D centre is the firm’s first outside the United States.

It is a modest start, with only 20 staff, 12 of whom have arrived from the US. But recruitment for more developers has begun. The team will work alongside the PR, advertising and support staff who work in the Covent Garden office.

The R&D centre’s head is Philip Su, head of Facebook’s UK engineering, who led the integration of Skype with Facebook, and who spent 12 years at Microsoft working on tablets, Bing and Windows.

Su said: “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,” 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.”

The R&D centre will have a wide remit to develop new products for Facebook the Nasdaq listed firm, valued at $41.7bn. The prioritising of a better Android app is unsurprising – the current Facebook app is notoriously slow and – incredibly – carries no advertising.

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