If all its innovation is in the US, why is Google hiring so much in Europe?

The London offices that Google’s European boss says don’t do much innovative engineering are on a hiring spree — but Google doesn’t want to talk about it.

Google is currently advertising for 134 positions at its locations in the capital, after posting dozens of vacancies last week. A further 156 positions have been opened at Google’s Dublin European HQ.

Asked why it was staffing up, the company told me: “Google has no comment to share on this.” That is unusually coy compared with the fanfare that often goes along with a human resources boom, especially in a London whose mayor has this year been keen to press-release any such growth.

Quizzed by MPs last month on why Google doesn’t pay more UK tax, a confident central and northern Europe VP Matt Brittin said that’s because “all the innovation stuff comes out of California”.

But last year Google refurbished its Victoria space for some 350 engineers it proclaimed, at the time, had actually spear-headed Google’s mobile business and helped develop the core AdSense technology plus that of Maps, Local, Chrome, Android and speech recognition.

Now the firm is seeking 15 more London engineers, including for a technical infrastructure team it says “makes Google’s product portfolio possible” and is “building the next generation of Google platforms”.

The largest category of vacancies is in sales and marketing, with 27 open positions. The hirings would add to the 1,300 or so people Google currently employs in the UK.

But the latest technical hiring spree might cause observers to wonder — with roles supposedly so fundamental to Google’s current and future operation, does Google really not innovate outside Mountain View?