Google is one of the big tech giants — how have they been taking advantage of decentralized technologies?
Big Tech has been paying increasingly close attention to developments in the blockchain
space. The support of a household name like Google could catapult blockchain into the mainstream
, yet there is still room for progress: both from blockchain developers and high-profile legacy firms.
In June 2019, Google published a blog post suggesting that it sees merit in integrating distributed ledgers with modern internet resources and public cloud services.
This innovative hybrid cloud-blockchain approach took a lot of people by surprise. As Google had tapped Ethereum (ETH) for this purpose, it became apparent that the company had studied the technology seriously
. It was a step up from making public blockchain data freely available through Google Cloud, which has been possible for many years now.
The interoperability between Ethereum smart contracts
and Google's enterprise cloud data warehouse, with the help of Chainlink (LINK) oracles
, showcases the potential of this technology. Moreover, it cast a spotlight on the prospect of using Chainlink services for on-chain data provision in order to reduce inefficiencies and introduce new capabilities.
Google’s engagement with blockchain technology took an intriguing turn in early 2020, when Google Cloud partnered with the decentralized video streaming platform Theta Labs. Initially, it seemed like a small-scale partnership, but the ambition of the collaboration became evident when it transpired that any Google Cloud user could deploy Theta's blockchain network to experiment with the technology.
Google Cloud set up a Theta Network (THETA
) validator node
to support users across Europe as part of this agreement. From this point onward, Google Cloud became an essential cog in the Theta ecosystem
. Moreover, Theta’s network became the seventh blockchain to have its data made widely available through Google’s public dataset program.
In early 2021, Google Ventures, the tech giant’s investment arm, became one of the investors in Blockchain.com's $120 million round. Given the breadth of Blockchain.com’s activities — it offers both Bitcoin (BTC) wallet
services and a block explorer – Google’s financial backing of the company received significant attention.
Having taken the next step and becoming an investor in a major blockchain firm, Google Cloud's initial interest in public blockchains and distributed ledger technology remained constant. Through its several partnerships with EOS
, Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR)
, and others, Google affirmed that it remained keen on hosting network nodes on Google Cloud. This functionality is still available to developers today, as Google Cloud continues to support multiple blockchain networks
Over the years, Google Cloud has forged partnerships with multiple blockchain providers. The main objective remains the same: to allow users to run blockchain nodes over Google Cloud. It is a bid to remain competitive with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, two providers that also make it easy for users to operate blockchain nodes with minimal effort.
Google has recently partnered with Dapper Labs
, a Canadian blockchain studio developing Web 3.0
products and services. One of its flagship concepts is a non-fungible-token
Under the terms of the multi-year partnership, Google Cloud has committed to serve as a network operator for Dapper Labs' Flow (FLOW) blockchain
, which powers a broader NFT, gaming
and apps ecosystem. Google will also provide a secure infrastructure for Dapper to continue to expand. Popular NFT projects on Flow currently include NBA Top Shot
Moreover, the Flow blockchain is accessible through Google Cloud, making the integration of Flow and Google software a lot more convenient.
One intriguing venture by Google is the company’s decision to compile a "bundle" for blockchain developers. Using the Google DevOps and Blockchain Developer Bundle, users can evolve from newbie to expert
A developer can, for example, take the Blockchain Training Alliance Certified Blockchain Solutions Architect exam using Google’s course. Additionally, there is an exam for “Certified Blockchain Developer- Hyperledger,” which students can complete and receive accreditation for. Certification is, for some developers, the first step toward forging a career in the blockchain industry.
To date, Google has not given an explicit sign that it plans to build its own solutions using blockchain technology. Doing so would go against the grain of the company's business model, which aims to centralize as much data as possible. This doesn't mean Google may not be experimenting with the technology in specific ways, yet what is publicly known of its future plans remains limited.