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Report: Google considering making its own computer chips

The search giant could switch from the currently favoured x86 processors designed by Intel to their customized system based on ARM designs
  • @jjvincent

Alongside Amazon and Facebook, Google is one of the web’s de facto rulers, but when it comes to keeping its many services running, the search giant relies on another company, Intel, to supply the chips that power its many servers.

That might be about to change. Bloomberg have reported that the search giant is mulling over the possibility of producing its own processors, with custom-designed chips that would work more efficiently with Google’s software.

“We are actively engaged in designing the world’s best infrastructure,” Liz Markman, a spokeswoman for the company responded. “This includes both hardware design (at all levels) and software design.”

Google would reportedly work from designs produced by British company ARM Holdings. ARM chips are valued for their low power consumption and cool running temperatures - two linked qualities that have seem them prosper as smartphones and tablets have become common.

However, the British chip designers have not had much luck trying to muscle into the market for data centers and servers, an area long dominated by Intel. If Google were to throw its weight behind ARM’s designs then it could have a significant effect on the industry.  

A switch over to new processors would be an extremely arduous and time-consuming task for Google, but as the Wall Street Journal notes “Google faces huge cost pressures, as both the number of people conducting Web searches and the number of searches they do keep expanding.”

Google’s many millions of users might not notice the difference if the company decides to switch its chips, but alongside the search giant's Chromebooks and Nexus range of devices, the move would be another step towards controlling how we access the web, from server to click.