There is a small buzz going on in the blogosphere regarding a job posting Google recently made for a trader of foreign government bonds.
FT Alphaville says this is an evolution of the corporate treasury function, since banks typically handle such trades. A source told the Business Insider that this was a means for Google to make use of its large cash reserves. Business Insider also made an off-hand comment that "Google has long discussed using its access to massive amounts of data to build a hedge fund."
One thing that's unclear is whether Google is still restricted in the kinds of investments it can make. Back in 2006, the company applied for an exemption to the Investment Company Act of 1940, which gives the Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory power over any company engaged in investing in or trading securities or has over 40 percent of its total non-cash assets in investment securities. Companies including Microsoft and Yahoo have exemptions to the law.