Google has refused to confirm or deny reports that it is planning to launch a voice over IP (VoIP) telephony service.
The rumours were fuelled when the company posted a job ad last week seeking a 'strategic negotiator' with experience in the "selection and negotiation of dark fibre contracts both in metropolitan areas and over long distances as part of the development of a global backbone network".
Industry analysts pointed out that the ad could signal moves into IP telephony, adding that such plans could be a big money spinner for the company.
"What a sweet extension to Google's advertising-driven business model," said Julian Hewett, chief analyst with Ovum.
"The appeal for Google is obvious: search for something then 'click here' if you'd like to speak to the company that's selling what you're looking for. Google then collects a fee from the 'sponsor' for each voice connection."
A popular VoIP network would demand the provision of substantial capacity over backbone infrastructure fibre.
However, after over-investment in the sector during the internet boom of the 1990s there is still a large amount of dark fibre which as been laid but remains unused.
"This is pure speculation and we do not comment on rumour," said a representative of Google UK. "We are not aware of any moves to enter this arena."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago