There's no mistaking the fact that Google is one of many companies that consider machine learning to be the future of technology. This form of AI already powers many of its systems, such as image recognition functions, smart replies, spam filters, Google Translate, and even its self-driving car project. Now, the firm has announced the formation of a Zurich-based research group dedicated to the field.

The Swiss city is already home to Google's largest engineering office outside of the US. The engine that powers Knowledge Graph and the conversation engine powering the Google Assistant in Allo messenger were developed by the teams located here.

According to a blog post by Emmanuel Mogenet, head of Google Research for Europe, the new group will be focusing on the key areas of machine learning, natural language processing and understanding, and machine perception.

Google said one of the reasons it chose Zurich as a base for the new team is because Europe is home to some of the world's leading technical universities.

"We look forward to collaborating with all the excellent computer science research that is coming from the region, and hope to contribute towards the wider academic community through our publications and academic support," wrote Mogenet.

Google recently revealed the Tensor Processing Unit, a custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that works with its second generation machine learning system, TensorFlow.

The move shows that Google's recent problems on the continent haven't stopped the company investing in Europe. Last month, the search giant's Paris offices were raided as part of an investigation into its alleged tax evasion activities in France. Google has faced similar tax inquiries from other EU nations, including the UK and Italy.