Google is no longer just a software company. While its top hardware lineup unmistakably includes the Google Pixel smartphones, Assistant-powered Google Home, Chromecast, and Pixelbooks etc., the tech giant has also undertaken the development of hardware products such as Tensor Processing Units (TPUs), Titan or Titan M security chips, and Pixel Visual Core chips.
Now, Google is taking another leap and diversifying its team for chip-making endeavors. Based on recent openings posted on LinkedIn, the giant has reportedly hired a minimum of 20 employees in India for its “gChips” team and is planning to expand the team further. For this new site in Bengaluru, the company is hiring for more posts including two executive positions.
Bengaluru, colloquially known as the silicon valley of India, has been a center for semiconductor development for more than two decades. New players such as Google are preferring the location because it’s easier to find veterans and experts in the field. Out of the 20 employees hired recently for the endeavor, at least 16 have many years in experience of working with chipmakers like Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and NVIDIA locally.
Lately, there have been around 13 listings for various roles on its own hiring platform – Google Careers, and the team may reportedly expand to 80 by the end of 2019. As of now, the responsibility of this team is to “fine-tune and test” prototypes before they are sent to manufacturers.
The current chipset-related openings in Google India include two positions of leadership:
SoC Physical Design and Methodology Lead
SoC RTL Lead
It has also listed two engineering positions including:
SoC/ASIC Design for Testability Engineer
Floorplan Engineer (ASIC/SoC)
Google has been eyeing India as a major market, especially for its software products such as Android Go, Files Go, and Google Pay (earlier Tez), as well as special features including the bike mode in Google Maps and support for Hindi in Google Assistant.
The development comes at a time when Apple is planning to expand its manufacturing in India and assemble expensive units such as the iPhone X to bring manufacturing costs down. Apple’s contracted manufacturer Wistron already assembles the iPhone SE and the iPhone 6S in India and now Foxconn is likely to invest heavily and set up manufacturing centers in the southern parts of the country.
However, there is no clarity as to which chips are actually being designed and tested by Google in Bengaluru and associating them with smartphones would be a long shot. Thus, any report about the tech giant assembling smartphones in India should be taken with a pinch of salt.