Other cities have embraced the company, but in Kreuzberg opposition to a planned Google campus is vociferous. What makes Berlin different?
In the streets next to Görlitzer Park – an oblong patch popular with skaters, dog walkers and the odd drug dealer in the east of Kreuzberg in Berlin – you soon spot signs of contention about the newcomer to the neighbourhood. One is scrawled across a wall: “Fuck off Google.”
Plans for the search engine giant’s new campus have inspired the community to respond creatively to what they see as an existential threat. The local anarchist bookshop, Kalabal!k, holds “Anti-Google Café” sessions twice a month, and since last year one of the burgeoning activist groups has been distributing a newspaper entitled Shitstorm: Against Google, Displacement and Tech Dominance.
The Google campus’s future location is a large former electrical substation or Umspannwerk, which is currently hired out as an event space. Although the opening date was initially announced as September 2017, it has since been pushed back to autumn this year. It will be the company’s seventh campus worldwide.
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