Tech giant Google has unveiled a new digital learning program in France, called "Les Ateliers Numériques," which translates to "The Digital Workshop." Google's upcoming workshop program is meant to capitalize on the untapped potential for a digital revolution in France, and will work somewhat similarly to the digital learning part of the United States' Grow With Google program, albeit with a wider target audience. In a post on Google's Keyword blog, CEO Sundar Pichai said that France has all of the talent and resources that it needs to fully embrace its digital potential, but the main obstacle is the normal residents of the country, many of whom are not aware of the full potential that the digital devices around them hold to enhance their lives. Pichai is hoping that they can learn this, and how best to use those devices, at Les Ateliers Numériques. Pichai's post also indicates that the company plans to build around 6,000 square meters of buildings connected to its current base of operations in France, in order to facilitate a 50% jump in the number of Google employees in the country that was announced earlier.
In his blog post, Pichai pointed out that France's digital economy currently places 16th out of all European countries, out of 50 total countries in the continent. He also points to studies showing that France could produce around 200 billion to 250 billion Euros of additional value in its GDP per year by bringing its digital economy up to its estimated potential, given current resources and talent. It's worth noting that the company does have a teaching presence in France, having hosted digital classes for roughly 230,000 people in the past.
Les Ateliers Numériques will manifest as four physical locations set up across France, and run by local partners. The first of these will be in Rennes, and will be put up during the first half of this year. The three other centers announced so far will follow if the Rennes location is successful. Google will have a bit of competition in this venture; Facebook announced a similar initiative earlier today, with a focus on artificial intelligence in the form of a €10 million boost to Facebook's existing AI teaching efforts in the country. This is an expansion of Facebook's Community Boost program, which is coming to Europe after a successful run in the United States, with the goal of teaching digital skills to 1 million European citizens by 2020.