Google has announced the launch of its first Latin American data center, FayerWayer reports. Based in Quilicura near Santiago, Chile, it will serve several countries across the region.

According to Google, its “long-term investment in this data center will reach $150 million USD and [it] will be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly in Latin America, built to the same high standards [Google uses] around the world. Once operational, the data center will employ up to 20 people in a variety of full-time and contractor roles, including computer technicians, engineers and catering and security staff.”

As you can imagine, the Chilean authorities are celebrating the news, which comes as an acknowledgment of the country’s efforts to position itself as a tech and innovation hub (see our recent post about Start-Up Chile’s first results). No later than yesterday, the World Wide Web Consortium revealed that Chile was the 19th best-performing country in its Web Index ranking – making it Latin America’s top country on the list.

While this new operations base is set to become available by the end of 2013,  it is already listed on Google’s official ‘Data center locations’ page:

screenshot 2012 09 06 à 10.54.46 Google announces its first Latin American data center will be in Chile

Following the launch of its data center, Google will begin community outreach efforts, including local initiatives and grants:

“Once we have finished building our data center, in late 2013, we will launch a formal community grants program in Quilicura that will support organizations and initiatives that focus on four issues we’re passionate about, including: technology literacy, renewable energy innovation and new economy entrepreneurship,” Google says.

Beyond Chile, today’s announcement should have a positive impact on the Latin American tech sector as a whole, Google explains:

“As Internet usage in Latin America grows, people are looking for information and entertainment, new business opportunities and better ways to connect with friends and family near and far. We’re building this data center to make sure that our users across Latin America and the world have the fastest and most reliable access possible to all of Google’s services.”

Google isn’t the first company to be working on boosting Latin America’s Internet infrastructure. As we reported last December, Amazon Web Services now operates two data centers in Brazil to serve its South American clients.