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Google is spending half a billion dollars to curry Europe's favor

The search giant is financing European startup offices, music concerts, art exhibitions and training courses, trying to warm relations as regulators home in on the company, according to a report.

The standby of the Street View fleet is the car, in this case a Toyota Prius. Google is showing this one off at the <a href="">Google I/O 2013 show</a> in San Francisco.
Google shows off one of its Street View image-capture cars at the Google I/O 2013 show in San Francisco.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google has been ratcheting up its investment in European goodwill, aiming to spend about $450 million from 2015 to 2017 as EU regulators narrow their gaze on the search giant, according to a report by The New York Times.

The company is pouring money into wide-ranging sponsorships, like an exhibition at a Belgian museum incorporating virtual reality, a fund to help European news publishers amp up their web savvy, a digital training course for Irish teachers, and YouTube-backed concerts, according to the Tuesday report.

Google is facing intensifying regulator scrutiny in Europe, including antitrust charges, probes into allegations that it is shortchanging its tax payments, and accusations about failing to adequately safeguard privacy. Google didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.