When I heard the news that Google was hiring Doug Bowman as a design coordinator, the first thought that came to my mind was, "Who is Doug Bowman?" (Like myself, you may know him better not by name, but as the founder of Stopdesign.) The second thing I thought of was Apple's success at maintaining product design consistency. They manage to keep their operating system, their gadgets, their programs, and their web sites sleek, trim, and clean. I imagine an entire department of design coordinators working around the clock at Apple HQ, comparing iPods to iTunes to MacOS, making sure nothing breaks out of the image they've built up so well.
Google traditionally kept to the server-side applications until a few years ago, when they began exploring the thin-client web apps (e.g. Google Calendar) and client-side server apps (e.g. Google Desktop). With the advent of new products, they must have realized that their branding had to consist of more than just colorful letters and replacing an "o" in "Google" with a relevant round object or symbol. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin started the company, it wasn't even a consideration. (Check out their original site -- complete with the ubiquitous "BETA"!)
I think Doug will do an excellent job, if his work at Stopdesign is any indication. Watch out, Apple!