Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday cut the ribbon on the Foundry, a €5.5 million new digital research centre at Google's Dublin headquarters that could boost the number of overseas conference delegates visiting the city by more than 15 per cent.
Google plans to use the 15,000sq ft centre, which includes a 360-seat auditorium, a Google shop and digital broadcasting facilities, to host hundreds of research gatherings annually for its clients across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Executives from companies that advertise online with Google will be brought to Dublin to take part in training events and engage in research using online consumer behaviour data compiled by Google.
The company said it will help the firms devise marketing strategies and design new products.
The centre's inaugural events take place today, when Ikea, the Swedish flat pack furniture retailer, and Swiss watch company Swatch hold gatherings for executives.
Paddy Power, Aer Lingus and Boots are also pencilled in to host events this year.
Delegates will have access to the first Google Store merchandise outside of its Californian headquarters, which will not be open to the public.
The Foundry has 80 events booked in for the remainder of this year, bringing 5,000 extra overseas business visitors to Dublin.
Google says it hopes the centre will attract up to 15,000 visitors annually.