Mayor Bloomberg brags that the social network's decision to open a development center in the Big Apple is proof the city is becoming the nation's biggest tech center outside of California.
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Facebook said Friday that it plans to open a new software development center in New York to build new products and help meet growing demand for its existing social networking services.
Company officials said the center will open in early 2012 and will be located within its existing facility on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan, where Facebook currently employs about 100 workers in sales and marketing positions.
Flanked by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York's senior senator, Democrat Charles Schumer, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company, which operates development centers in Palo Alto, Calif., and Seattle, chose New York for its third hub due to a growing talent pool of tech professionals.
Sandberg said she could not specify exactly how many developers and software engineers Facebook plans to place in New York. "Like all Silicon Valley companies, we will hire as much talent as we can find. We don't have a firm job target; we're going to see how the applications go and how many we can hire."
Facebook's competition for skilled labor in the New York area includes Google, which maintains a significant presence in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, and numerous VC-backed startups in so-called Silicon Alley.
Bloomberg said Facebook's decision to target New York shows that his city is diversifying beyond its traditional strengths in industries such as financial services, fashion, advertising, and publishing. "I think this is conclusive proof that we're well on our way toward achieving our goal and that is to become the world's number-one hub for information technology."
Bloomberg noted that only California now attracts more tech-related venture capital than New York." Our future looks bright; we want the next Facebook to start here, in New York City."
Schumer agreed that New York is fast establishing a reputation as a technology center. "With their announcement that they are opening an engineering office in New York, this is a red-letter day for New York," he said.
"The fact that a company like Facebook is locating engineers here says that we have turned the corner," said Schumer. "New York has always been great at some of the other skills that are needed in social media, such as advertising," the Senator said, adding, "New York is pleased to call Facebook a friend."
Facebook's New York engineering team will be led by Serkan Piantino, a Connecticut native who previously oversaw the development of the social network's News Feed site and helped build the infrastructure that supports the Timeline feature, which helps users track past activities.
Facebook is now accepting applications for positions at the New York center. Currently available jobs include software engineers to support efforts in Web performance, tools development, marketing solutions, and tools engineering.
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