Précis - Facebook opened its first engineering centre outside of the US in London in October.

What?  Based in Covent Garden, the centre will focus on three areas - mobile, platform and "machine learning" (a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn without being explicitly programmed). Mobile products are a key priority for Facebook as it has struggled to generate revenue from its mobile users (see the ebriefing on this here).

The centre is headed by engineer Philip Su who relocated from Facebook's Seattle team. Although the official opening of the centre took place at the beginning of October, the centre has actually been up and running for a few months. The centre has around 20 engineers at present, 12 of whom were brought over from the US.

So what? The opening of the centre in London is great news for the Government's efforts to make London a technology hub in Europe. Chancellor George Osborne, who attended the opening, was reported as saying that he hoped the opening reflected the hard work the Government had gone to over the last couple of years to make London "a go-to place for technology businesses".

Facebook has said that the team will start small, focusing on developing a core group of engineers, but will grow over time. Philip Su reportedly said that although "he didn't anticipate dramatic growth… Facebook will continually look towards the UK and Europe for additions to its team".