It was recently announced that Google would be continuing to invest millions of dollars into the midwest with the proposed construction of data centers in Ohio (and later, Nebraska). Part of a $13 billion expansion strategy across the 14 states, creating tens of thousands of jobs, the New Albany build marks the first step in Google’s next growth spurt. But while one might expect a barrage of anti-capitalism haters to emerge from the woodworks, the biggest critics might be Ford dealers in Ohio.
Well, not Ford specifically, but all established dealerships in, and around New Albany. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
As of lately, it feels almost impossible to avoid headlines related to the ever-expanding footprint of technology giants. Consider the highly-publicized decision of Amazon not to build their secondary corporate HQ in Queens, New York as originally planned. Claiming that New York legislators include a subset with intentions contrary to process, Amazon’s decision (described by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as “an abuse of corporate power” confirming “people’s worst fears about corporate America”) has been met with a mixture of criticism and support. But the luring of tech hubs to any city is big business, and it’s entirely likely that both the positive and negative aspects of New York’s experiences will be echoed throughout other U.S. landscapes in the months and years to come. Which brings us back to Ohio.
In a recent statement, Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted said, “Google investing in Ohio to open a new data center is great news for our state. This adds to the list of tech companies that are looking here to grow their operations. Ohio has a history of innovation and through InnovateOhio, we aim to position our state for this to be true in the future as well. Our administration will embrace a tech and talent strategy that will improve opportunity and the quality of life for everyone.”
“When one of the world’s biggest tech companies was looking to invest, they chose Ohio. Ohio is establishing itself as a premier destination for technology investment, and it further strengthens our case that Ohio is becoming the tech capital of the Midwest.”
But Zach Lee Billingsly, owner and general manager of Billingsly Ford, has other concerns.
“Everyone knows that automakers are hell-bent on creating self-driving cars and trucks. And the most aggressive timelines are being laid out by companies like Googles. They’re testing autonomous technologies everywhere, and their insurance liabilities are minimized when road-testing occurs around their own commercial properties. That makes normalization of such technology more likely among the people of New Albany, increasing their expectations of any vehicle purchase. Have you seen the Ford lineup lately? I mean, aside from the Raptor and the new Shelby Mustang, there’s not a lot to see. And I get it. Ford’s wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch, but to what end? More crossovers? Hybrids and EV’s? Where’s the excitement? Google’s over here making robot cars, and I’m trying to convince Gen Z’ers that a pre-owned Ford Flex is ‘pretty sweet’. At this rate I’ll be Googling ‘how to declare bankruptcy’ in no time. And that’s if the damn robots don’t rise up and kill us all first.”
Having caught wind of his comments, Google was quick to release a statement confirming that they “had no immediate plans of developing technology that posed a threat to the lives of Ohio’s population”.
So, if you’re afraid of being killed by Google robots, you heard it here first…you have some waiting to do. And in other news, we can’t help but agree with Zach Lee Billingsly. The Ford Flex isn’t ‘pretty sweet’…not even a little bit.