Google forms blockchain group

Under newly appointed executive.
Image: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Google is forming a group dedicated to the blockchain and related technologies under a newly appointed executive who has spent more than a decade on the company’s core business of search advertising.

Shivakumar Venkataraman, an engineering vice president for Alphabet Inc.’s Google, is now running a unit focused on “blockchain and other next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies,” according to an email viewed by Bloomberg News. The executive will become a “founding leader” of Labs, a business division in which Google houses its various virtual and augmented reality efforts, according to the email. A company spokesperson declined to comment.

To date, Google has offered some cloud services to companies working on blockchain technology. But otherwise Google, a company famous for its experimentation, hasn’t launched public projects in the area where some rivals, such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Twitter Inc., have devoted considerable resources.

Google’s payments and commerce president, however, recently said the company pays “a lot of attention to crypto.”

Last fall, Google placed the groups working on its virtual reality hardware and software efforts into Labs under Clay Bavor, a vice president, who also oversees the company’s startup incubator. At the time, Google described Bavor’s work as focusing on “long-term technology projects that are in direct support of our core products and businesses.” The unit working on blockchain is relatively small compared with Google’s other product areas, said a person familiar with the company.

Venkataraman, a veteran of Google’s search advertising team, has previously published research on the company’s techniques for distributed computing, or tying large numbers of machines together in networks.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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