Google has been slowly increasing its internal chip manufacturing efforts over the years. Those efforts have accelerated substantially in recent months, thanks to more than a dozen new hires of microchip engineers in Bangalore, India.
According to ReutersGoogle hired at least 16 engineering veterans and four talent recruiters for its internal "gChips" team. As of this writing, there are four open positions in Bengaluru. In total, the gChips team could reach 80 employees by the end of 2019.
Reuters It also reports that the gChips could be testing chip designs before shipping the final versions to the manufacturers, according to two industry executives who are familiar with Google's plans.
If these chip designs are for processors, Google could soon join Apple, Samsung and Huawei as companies that use their own processors in their devices. Since Google provides Android to manufacturers, this also means that Google could integrate hardware and software more strongly than before.
In addition to the processors, the chip designs could also be for chips with more specific purposes. For example, Google could build a chip for its routers and smart home devices that can analyze voice commands and videos better than before.
That does not mean that Google is a stranger to custom chips. The last two generations of Pixel phones have Pixel Visual Core, which compiles HDR + images five times faster than an application processor. Google also designed the Titan M security chip for Pixel 3, the Google Clips Visual Processing Unit and the Tensor Processing Units in Google's data centers.
Google also made advances in the personnel: the company hired several key engineers from Apple and Qualcomm, including the former Apple micro-architect Manu Gulati in mid-2017.