In an effort to expand its microchip design efforts, Google has reportedly hired 16 microchip engineers in Bengaluru. These hires made Google the first internet giant to setup a chip design team in India.
Based on a review of LinkedIn profiles, Google has hired at least 16 engineers and four talent recruiters from existing chipmakers such as Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Nvidia, an ET report said. The Indian chip design team is christened ‘gChips’.
As two industry executives told ETtech, “This team will be Google’s existing chips team in Silicon Valley to fine-tune and test design ideas before shipping final ones off to manufacturers.” Further, they added, “The team could grow to 80 people by year’s end.”
Custom chip design efforts could help Google in reducing costs and reliance on outside vendors such as Intel or other dominant semiconductor suppliers like Qualcomm and Nvidia.
According to DataCenter Knowledge, a media publication covering data centre news, Most data center servers are powered by Intel’s x86 chips. This creates a near-monopoly for Intel, which hinders even the giant consumers from having as much say in the product as they’d prefer.
In recent years, Google has expanded its product profile to sell smart speakers, routers and AI gadgets like home security devices. Custom chip design can significantly impact the hardware and software features of these devices, similar to what Apple has done with iPhone and its accessories.
In-house chip design has been a growing trend for both Apple and Google, starting with Apple’s A4 processor for the iPhone. Followed by dedicated chips for graphics and artificial intelligence processing. Google already has in-house teams designing Artificial Intelligence(AI) training and inference chips for data centers, called Tensor Processing Units. In recent years, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft all have built capacity to design their own AI chips.
Commenting on this development, The Verge said, “The Big Five’s (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook) push to establish independence from big chipmakers, namely Intel and Qualcomm, has seriously threatened the businesses of some of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most venerated companies.”
The media house further added, “It’s looking like the biggest device and software makers in the industry are only going to continue pushing away the chip suppliers.”
This development was first reported by ETtech.