Google is always experimenting with elements of technologies that look like long-term investments in the future (i.e. Robots Cars and Wind Farms) but recently, they have been assembling the pieces of infrastructure that could enable them to become a carrier to compete with Verizon Wireless, Sprint or AT&T. In 2008, they made a bid in a government auction to buy up spectrum, and although they ultimately lost the bid to Verizon (who purchased the spectrum for their 4G network) Google is rumored to be buying up dark fiber. Google also experimented with selling its own version of an Android phone, the Nexus One, and although the experiment has been fraught with difficulties it has still helped the company develop the retail and customer service capabilities it will need if it ever becomes a serious player in the Wireless market.
Google’s best weapon, however, is Google Voice, a hit low-cost VOIP service that recently achieved 1.4 million users, half of whom use the service every day. In addition, Google recently announced that it will begin offering Ultra High-speed Internet service to up to 500,000 users in a major US city (as yet undetermined).
It is difficult to know whether these experiments will ultimately lead to a market entry by Google or whether they are just forays. There are many hurdles to a full market entry, not the least of which is increased regulatory oversight from the FCC, but if anyone has the tools and resources to make a play in this space, Google certainly does.