Google plans to make all products available everywhere

Google is looking to hire an executive to be responsible for internationalizing all of its products, according to a university official involved in the hunt.

Internet users outside of the US may soon be able to access all of Google's products, many of which are currently available only in limited regions, if an executive search by the company is successful.

The University of Limerick, in the west of Ireland, has been asked by Google and an executive search firm to help find an experienced localization guru to head up an initiative to internationalize all of Google's products.

Google is looking for an executive with 10 or more years of product management experience to serve as group product director of internationalization, said Reinhard Schaler, director of the University of Limerick's localization research center.

He was approached by Google two or three months ago with a request for help in finding candidates. The university has been offering a degree in localization since 1997 and organizes conferences on the subject. "We have established quite a good network of people that are at different levels in the localization industry," he said.

Schaler circulated Google's query to contacts, but Google apparently didn't find a suitable candidate because executive search firm Korn/Ferry International contacted him recently. Korn/Ferry told Schaler that in its hunt on behalf of Google to fill the position it had been referred several times to the university, so the company asked the university to continue to help seek appropriate candidates.

Google spokespeople in Ireland and the U.K. have been unable to confirm the executive search. Korn/Ferry did not respond to a request for comment.

Schaler said he's not sure where Google wants the new hire to be based.

On its Web site, Google lists scores of open jobs for people with internationalization and localization skills, in perhaps another indication that it is pushing to expand its reach.

Ireland has become a hub for internationalization work, so it is a good place for Google to look for experienced workers. Multinational companies including Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec do localization work from offices in Ireland. Google's largest operation outside of the US is in Dublin, where Google boasts that staff come from 40 countries and serve customers in 35 countries using 30 different languages.

Google, which currently has 112 international domains, isn't alone among search engines looking to expand their audiences. Yahoo has also tweaked its Web site for customers in many countries including Indonesia, Taiwan, Greece and Argentina.

Despite their attempts to reach audiences outside of the US, the search engines may face a new challenger from a competitive offering in development that was founded in part to fill out search results to include more non-US-centric material. Called Quaero, the elusive European-based project is in part intended to deliver search returns in many languages and from sources that will include European cultural documents.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service

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