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18 April 2006

Google, Amazon and the wonder of Scotland

About 18 months ago, e-commerce giant Amazon.com set up a development centre in Scotland in South Queensferry, home to the Forth Bridge which recently won the "Seven Wonders of Scotland" competition.

Included amongst the 30 wonders listed by The Scotsman were several which allude to Scottish engineering, creativity and inventiveness. The Forth Bridge for engineering, Scottish literature and the Scottish enlightenment, and Scots inventiveness is at number 25. There is a full list referring to the motherland of invention and the many things which Scots have given the world. The telephone, the television, penicillin, steam engines, anaesthetics and right through to Dolly the sheep. It isn't just the Forth Bridge, once hailed the 8th wonder of the world, which is the wonder of Scotland; it's the fact that for such a small country we have so much to offer and a well-deserved reputation for talent. This is the wonder that is Scotland.

Of course education is one of the main things Scotland is famous for, Scotland had five universities for a long time when England only had two. Scotland had by far the largest percentage of primary secondary and tertiary educated population in Europe, until Prussia caught up in the 18th Century. excerpt from the Scottish Education part of the Scotland FAQ.

Our reputation for excellent education and universities is one reason why Amazon.com chose Scotland as the place to build its first development centre outside the US.

That being the case, what can we do to build on the Amazon investment and encourage other high intellect companies to come here? Google is the obvious prize to land and I'm wondering why Google hasn't spotted the same opportunity as Amazon. It doesn't take a Stanford Ph.D. to spot the opportunity not only that Silicon Glen in Scotland could offer but also a campus of Google, Amazon and other high power companies in close contact with one another would not only benefit Silicon Glen, but would forge a vibrant and dynamic community. Like an extension of the University campus it could form a community where ideas would be born and developed in a hotbed of inventiveness, ingenuity and creativity.

I'm searching for a reason why Google isn't already here.
Are we feeling lucky and can Google seek out the answer?
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