As per the latest reports, it seems, Google is expanding efforts to design its own chips. According to the latest news, Google has announced that it is hiring Uri Frank, an Intel veteran with over two decades of experience in custom CPU design.
Uri Frank will lead a new team for Google based in Isreal. He will also serve as the company’s VP of Engineering for server chip design. In a LinkedIn post, Frank announced the move. He posted, “I look forward to growing a team here in Israel while accelerating Google Cloud’s innovations in compute infrastructure,”
Recently Google and other such big tech giants are seeking more performance and power efficiency. For this, they have increasingly turned towards custom chip designs tailored towards specific use cases. For example, Google has already introduced several custom chips including its Tensor Processing Unit, Video Processing Units, and OpenTitan. Tensor Processing Unit helps with tasks like voice search and photo object recognition while OpenTitan is an open-source security-focused chip.
For consumers, Google has already designed custom chips like Titan M and Pixel Neural Core which are used in its phones. A recent report further conveyed that Google is designing processors that could eventually power its Pixel phones and Chromebooks.
According to Google, “The SoC is the new motherboard.” Despite hiring Frank, Google cautions that the company is not planning to build every server chip itself. Google said, “We buy where it makes sense, build it ourselves where we have to, and aim to build ecosystems that benefit the entire industry.”
According to Google, the biggest challenge will be to try to integrate these different pieces of hardware on a single system on a chip rather than via a motherboard where they are separated by “inches of wires”. The “inches of wires” introduce latency and reduce bandwidth in the case of a motherboard.
Apart from Google, other tech giants are also looking forward to similar custom chip ambitions. Apple already has several chip designs to its credit. Currently, Apple is transitioning its Mac lineup from Intel to its own ARM-based processors. Amazon has its ARM-based Graviton server chips, while Facebook has announced data center chip designs of its own. In the meanwhile, Microsoft is designing its own server chips and processors for its Surface PC lineup.