Salt Lake City skyline on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020.

Carter Williams,

Report: Google contributed billions to Utah's economy in 2020, helped local businesses survive COVID-19

By Lauren Bennett, | Posted - Mar. 18, 2021 at 1:07 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Google helped bring $7.31 billion into Utah's economy last year as local businesses and organizations used the platform to help stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from the company shows.

The economic report, published Thursday, says more than 160,000 businesses in the Beehive State made connections, from reviews to bookings, through the company last year. Nonprofits in the state used the platform for $4.33 million worth of free advertising through the Google Ad Grants program.

The company also recently expanded Google Fiber into South Salt Lake and Millcreek, helping increase accessibility to faster internet speeds across the Wasatch Front.

Salt Lake company, a custom sculpting studio that offers Greek and Roman statues online, was featured in Google's annual report. The business credits their Google ad campaign in part for their COVID-19 revenue recovery.

"Things changed overnight," said owner Victoria Karpos in the report. While sales did dip because of the pandemic, the small business has all but recovered by now.

"Today, we are beginning to rise to pre-pandemic levels, plus more," owner Vasilios Karpos said. "We are seeing an increase in new inquiries."

The Utah-based mattress company Purple also reported an increase in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming years, Purple plans to hire hundreds of employees as part of an international expansion. The business credits Google in part for their success, considering they sell mattresses online and use a host of Google products to conduct business.

"If Google products didn't exist, it would be a lot harder for us to see this kind of growth," said Bryant Garvin, director of marketing at Purple, in the economic report. "The biggest thing we do is bring manufacturing jobs to the state of Utah. We drive community growth."

In 2021, Google plans to create a minimum of 10,000 new full-time jobs across the country and invest more than $7 billion in the process. While expansion isn't planned in Utah, it will be nearby — new offices are planned to be opened in California and new data centers are slated to be opened in Nevada this year.

"I believe a lasting economic recovery will come from local communities, and the people and small businesses that give them life," said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, in a statement. "Google wants to be a part of that recovery."

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