Google is rumored to be working on blockchain related technology to support its cloud business and head off competition from emerging startups that use the heavily-hyped technology to operate online in new ways, according to inside sources.
Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring potential uses of blockchain but it’s way too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans.
Digital ledgers like blockchain power Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They are databases that are updated regularly across thousands of computers over the internet. Each entry is confirmed by these machines, which can be part of public networks or run privately by companies.
The technology presents challenges and opportunities for Google. Distributed networks of computers that run digital ledgers can eliminate risks that come with information held centrally by a single company. While Google’s security is strong, it’s one of the largest holders of information in the world. The decentralized approach is also beginning to support new online services that compete with Google.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s advertising chief, said at a recent conference that his division has a “small team” looking at blockchain, but noted the existing core technology can’t handle a lot of transactions quickly. When Google wants to keep up with emerging technology, it often backs startups in the field and makes small acquisitions to recruit talent.
A number of new startups are trying to challenge Google’s online dominance by using digital ledgers. Brave is a web browser that competes with Google’s Chrome. Instead of running targeted ads, Brave uses blockchain technology to pay websites when people spend time there. BitClave lets people perform searches online, and get rewarded for seeing ads.