Less than two weeks after launching its official operation in Israel, search engine giant Google on Tuesday announced plans to open a new research and development facility in Haifa. "Israel's highly skilled engineering base makes it the ideal place to establish an R&D center," said Alan Eustace, Vice President of Engineering at Google. "By using the best engineering talent available, Google ensures that users can find the most relevant information, and communicate it to their family, friends and colleagues." The new R&D center, Google's first in the Middle East, will open in the second quarter of this year and will be headed by Yoelle Maarek, who previously served as the senior manager of the information and media technologies department at IBM Research. Google did not say how much it was investing to establish the center or how many people it expected to hire. A spokesman for the company confirmed, however, that it was actively looking for new employees. There are currently six positions posted on its recruitment website www.google.co.il/jobs. Google also said it was looking at other locations in Israel for future engineering centers and that it was looking to establish partnerships with institutes and universities in the country. Google launched its Hebrew version approximately four years ago and officially opened its Tel Aviv office last month, expanding its portfolio of search products available to the Hebrew speaking private and business consumer.