Google plans to hire more than 6,000 new workers this year, a company executive said in a blog posting on Tuesday.

The move is being interpreted as a sign of the company’s determination to fight off challenges posed by rivals like Facebook and Apple as they compete for traffic and advertising dollars on the Internet.

Alan Eustace, Google’s senior vice-president of engineering and research, said the expansion was made necessary by the success of many Google initiatives in 2010 in mobile Internet, display advertising and cloud-based services.

He cited growth of the Android smartphone operating system, rising popularity of the Chrome browser and adoption by more than 1 million businesses of Google Apps as highlights of the company’s success.

Eustace said that 2011 would be the biggest hiring year in the company’s history, and that Google would be taking on new employees around the globe. The company already employs some 24,000 workers in 60 offices spread over 30 countries.

“We’re looking for top talent — across the board and around the globe — and we’ll hire as many smart, creative people as we can to tackle some of the toughest challenges in computer science,” Eustace said.

“I joined Google more than eight years ago — when we had barely 500 employees — and while there have been many changes, Google is still the same entrepreneurial company it was when I started.”

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