American multinational and giant technology company Google is always up and about on the latest technologies and computing advancements. That means that the giant tech company will be in full force on implementing Web3 strategies and business development. Being a leading tech company means investing in the new decentralized version of the internet whether Google believes in the full potential of the blockchain or not. In order not to lose its title of being “the most powerful company in the world” and its market dominance, Google has battled the FOMO and delved deep into the Web3 space. Since then, Google and Web3 have gone hand in hand to facilitate many blockchain-related activities.
So, let’s deep dive into the Google and Web3 journey over the past year.
Google’s Venture into Web3
Back in February, Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, stated in a Q4 earnings call that it was looking into how Google can play a major role in Web3 and blockchain technologies and how it can add them to its network business. The company stated that it regarded the blockchain as a powerful technology “with broad applications”. Sundar Pichai, the chief executive officer and director, also stated that the Google Cloud team is “Cloud team is looking at how they can support our customers’ needs in building, transacting, storing value and deploying new products on a blockchain-based platform”.
Google’s Crypto Payment Push
Over the years, Google’s involvement in Web3 was seen through Google’s support of crypto payments. Back in 2020, the contactless payment Google Pay app added the integration of Coinbase Card. The Coinbase Card was launched in 2019 by Coinbase as a debit card supporting 10 different cryptocurrencies. Moreover, Google made Coinbase the first company to enable crypto mobile payments through its Google Pay app.
Google also partnered with Gemini for the same effect. Gemini users could use Google Pay to make crypto payments with over 30 cryptocurrencies. Then, Google partnered with Bakkt to enable the same features to holders of the cryptocurrency exchange’s debit cards.
Fast forward to January 2022, Google felt lagging behind its competitive counterpart Apple Pay due to the popularity of iPhones in the U.S. To catch up, Google hired former PayPal senior vice president Arnold Goldberg to lead its payment division, in the hopes of boosting Google Pay into the Crypto space.
Dedicated Digital Assets Team
On January 28, 2022, a blog post published on the official website announced that Google Cloud is launching a new dedicated digital assets team as a more in-depth Web3 venture. The team is dedicated to helping customers build blockchain-based activities and applications. The Google Cloud team is Google’s step into accelerating their efforts in the Web3 space and exploring the blockchain’s full potential, as well as acting as a facilitator for people interested in these technologies.
The announcement stated that blockchain-based companies like Hedera, Theta, and Dapper Labs are already built on top of Google Cloud. The blog post also entailed the many Web3 initiatives it was currently employing and future goals the tech giant is looking to implement. One of the main focuses of Google is the ability to future help customers host blockchain nodes on Google Cloud by launching new services. Google Cloud also stated that it would like to “Support on-chain governance via participation from Google Cloud executives and senior engineers”.
Google promised to develop specialized cloud services to develop blockchain applications on its cloud system. This again comes from Google’s need to stay ahead of the competition. Multinational tech company Amazon had already launched a service for deploying blockchain networks on its cloud system, Amazon Managed Blockchain.
Google’s BNB Chain & Near Protocol Partnership
Google Cloud partnered back in September 2022 with Binance’s BNB chain smart contract blockchain platform. The partnership will facilitate Web3 builders to access Google’s Cloud program to develop blockchain-based services using its scalable and open-source infrastructure.
Similarly, the Near foundation announced back on October 4, 2022, its partnership between Google Cloud and Near Protocol. The decentralized application (DApp) Near protocol will benefit from the infrastructure provided by Google Cloud for its Web3 startup, Pagoda.
Google and Coinbase Partnership
Google announced its partnership with the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase on October 11, 2022, to accelerate the Web3 ecosystem. The partnership consisted of a crypto payment program for Cloud services that entailed four parts:
- A handful of Google Cloud customers who are already in the Web3 ecosystem get to pay for their Cloud services in cryptocurrency through Coinbase Commerce.
- Web3 developers will have access to Google Cloud’s BigQuery crypto dataset powered by Coinbase Cloud’s Node service. This will save developers the expensive and complex infrastructure to operate Web3-based systems.
- Google will use Coinbase Prime in terms of digital assets custody.
- Coinbase will use Google Cloud’s compute platform to process blockchain data and enhance the global reach of crypto services.
Google Blockchain Node Engine
Google promised a node-hosting service when announced its digital assets team, and it has delivered. Recently, the giant tech company announced the launch of its Blockchain Node Engine (BNE) based on Google Cloud. Since blockchain node work in a peer-to-peer network that constantly exchanges blockchain data, as in transactions, all nodes must stay in sync. Google has billed this process as “difficult to deploy and require constant management”. Therefore, the tech company has provided a fully managed node hosting service that decreases the time-consuming node operations.
The announcement continues to say that “Web3 companies who require dedicated nodes can relay transactions, deploy smart contracts, and read or write blockchain data with the reliability, performance, and security they expect from Google Cloud compute and network infrastructure”. Moreover, the Blockchain Node Engine will support the Ethereum blockchain, with the plan to support more blockchains in the future.
A Concern or a Game Changer?
Having a mega-company like Google can have a major impact on the development of Web3. People trust Google products and services, thus having the giant tech company involved in blockchain technology can make it mainstream among Google customers. Letting customers conduct crypto payments in Google Pay is a major leap into the Web3 universe. Also, Google Cloud’s infrastructure can open a wide range of facilitations for Web3 developers to build blockchain-based applications on it. However, there is a major concern regarding giant companies like Google and Amazon taking the lead on the majority of blockchain nodes. This screams centralization! – which contradicts the blockchain’s decentralized nature.