The Times in London, is speculating that Google is about to launch a Voice Over IP telephone service following an advert on its site for a “strategic negotiator” to help the company to provide a “global backbone network”

The job description calls for experience in one or more of the following areas:

* Negotiations for collocation space in conventional data centers; for racks, power circuits, cross connects, and remote hands services in conventional data centers; and for wholesale transactions with conventional data centers in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
* Negotiation and purchasing of IP transit services in North America, Europe, Asia, and/or Latin America; negotiation of partnerships with Internet exchanges, regional peering providers, and paid peering arrangements with major carriers.
* Identification, selection, and negotiation of dark fiber contracts both in metropolitan areas and over long distances as part of development of a global backbone network; contracts and negotiation for managed metropolitan services and long haul wavelength services to fulfill capacity and redundancy requirements in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

If the company is planning on entering the market, it won't have much of a struggle. Skype, the current market leader could even be bought by the internet search engine for it to gain an direct market share quickly and effectively in the same way it bough Picasa to enter the photo editing and storage market.

Skype is a London based company that has seen its software downloaded over 54 million times over the last two years with little competition allowing users to talk for free over an boardband internet connection.

While Skype is clearly the market leader, other companies including BT also offer VOIP services. Earlier this month, American company Vonage, launched a service in the UK offering a dongle that would allow its customers to use its VOIP via a standard telephone.

Rumour or truth, we'll keep you posted.