Google is creating a new unit dedicated to blockchain technology, Bloomberg reported.
The team will be led by Shivakumar Venkataraman, a company veteran of almost two decades.
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Google is reportedly setting up its own dedicated blockchain unit, in the first overt sign of the tech giant's interest in cryptocurrencies and their underlying technologies.
The tech giant's new unit will focus on "blockchain and other next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies", according to a leaked email obtained by Bloomberg.
Google has reportedly appointed Shivakumar Venkataraman to lead the new group, a veteran of the company who spent nearly two decades working on its core search ads business.
After a string of disappointments in virtual reality and social networking, Google appears to have been reticent to dive into cryptocurrency technologies, perhaps at least in part due to CEO Sundar Pichai's conservative leadership style.
Until last August, the company banned cryptocurrency companies from its advertising network and has resisted allowing people to use crypto to pay for its products and services.
Bloomberg's report indicates that the new blockchain unit will sit in Google's relatively new Labs division, which is also home to the firm's research into virtual and augmented reality. Venkataraman will become a "founding leader" of Labs.
Labs was formed amid a company re-org in November 2021, when it was placed under the leadership of veteran Googler and VP Clay Bavor, who was previously in charge of the company's experiments in VR and AR, including holographic videoconferencing platform Project Starline.
Google's move into blockchain offers a glimpse of the kinds of "high-potential, long-term" projects that Bavor – a key player who helped make Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive a reality – is said to be focusing on.
While executives at other leading tech companies, such as Twitter and Meta (previously Facebook), have moved aggressively into "Web3" — an umbrella term for non-fungible tokens, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies — Google has largely stayed out of the arena. One possible reason is regulatory blowback.
Pichai previously told Bloomberg he personally did not own any cryptocurrency, adding: "I wish I did ... I've dabbled in it, you know, in and out."
Insider approached Google for comment.
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