Initially, I thought that it was a weird idea. Google is not in the consumer electronics business, which is a cut-throat business. There doesn't seem to be any reason for Google to get involved in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of a mobile phone. To encourage innovation, it's company policy to spend 20% of work time pursuing personal projects. So, I thought that this might just be one of the many ideas that Google engineers came up with, but will never see the light of day.
Then, came the patents. Google had filed a patent for a technology that is for mobile devices. The filing details "an application that can predict what a user is searching for or the words they are typing in a text message by taking into account the users location, previous searching / messaging history and even the time of day." However, this technology could be integrated into any number of mobile devices, including the iPhone.
Furthermore, in the US, technology patents are often used defensively. So, in order to prevent someone else from patenting such an idea and suing Google for it at a later time, Google may have just taken some patents out in defence. So, eventhough the evidence is mounting, I could still dismiss this rumour as 'just another Google rumour'.
Finally, the job ad sold me on the idea. It says: "We are building a small team of top-notch Logic Designers and Analog Designers aimed at nothing less than making the entire world's information accessible from anywhere for free. Are you in?" I think that this is the damning evidence that Google is building some sort of GooglePhone or GoogleBerry. Why else would they need an analogue front end engineer for?
Now, this started me thinking. The good news is that Google is going to need more chip design engineers, which means that my chances of landing a job with them is better now. However, it still doesn't answer my questions of how and why. However, this blog has dragged on long enough, and I'm quite convinced now that this is more than just another Google rumour. So, maybe it's time to save up some money for the next cool gadget.