Alphabet Inc.’s, (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google is exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology. Efforts for this latest venture will be done through Google Labs, its business division housing a variety of virtual and augmented reality experiments with Google.
Shivakumar Venkataraman, Google’s VP for engineering, has been assigned to lead the distributed computing division, running the unit to focus on “blockchain and other next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies,” which it has previously only touched on tangentially. Venkataraman has previously published research on Google’s technical capacities for distributed computing.
The newly appointed “founding leader” at Google Labs will work alongside Clay Bavor, a vice president of Google who also manages its incubator efforts. According to Google, Bavor is tasked to oversee “long-term technology projects that are in direct support” of its “core products and businesses.”
The move follows recent statements from Google that Google Pay, its consumer financial services division, is reorganizing its broader strategy to integrate its core services with crypto firms such as Coinbase and BitPay to enable crypto payments through digital cards.
Aside from consumer payments and the newly formed distributed computing division, its cloud division, Google Cloud, also has concurrent partnerships with established crypto firms such as Dapper Labs for Web3 and NFTs, and CryptoWire, a blockchain and DeFi media network.
Google’s latest strategic inroads to the crypto space can be seen as a broader effort to keep up with its tech industry rivals, Meta Inc. (formerly Facebook), Twitter Inc., and Microsoft Inc., which have made influential announcements of their respective moves into the crypto and blockchain space, in particular with the emerging sector for the metaverse. Notably, Microsoft recently announced its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a deal which ranks as the biggest acquisition in the history of gaming.
Google has not disclosed any further details for its financial technology and crypto efforts. It remains to be seen whether its industry presence in distributed computing technologies will create massive shifts in the crypto space at large, or if its current efforts will again be deprecated, given how Google’s notoriety for shutting down its experiments once it does not see its viability for mass adoption.
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