Google Labs starts up a blockchain division

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Here’s a fun new report from Bloomberg : Google is forming a blockchain division. The news comes hot on the heels of a Bloomberg report from yesterday that quoted Google’s president of commerce as saying, “Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to. ” Web3 is apparently becoming a thing at Search engines.

Shivakumar Venkataraman, the longtime Googler from the advertising division, is running the blockchain group, which lives under the nascent “Google Labs” division that was started about three months ago . Labs is home to “high-potential, long-term projects, ” basically making it the new Google X division (X was turned into a new less-Google-focused Alphabet division in 2016). Bavor used to be vice president of virtual reality, and Labs contains all of those VR plus augmented reality projects, like the particular “Project Starline” 3D video booth and Google’s AR goggles .

Just like “algorithms, ” “AI, ” and “5G, ” “blockchain” is often used as the go-to buzzword for rudderless tech executives hoping to hype up investors or consumers. A blockchain is really just a distributed, P2P database, sort of like if BitTorrent hosted a database instead associated with pirated movies and Linux ISOs. The database is chopped up into blocks , and each new block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, forming a chain of records that will protect each other against alterations. On a traditional database, transactions are verified by the database owner, but on a blockchain, nobody owns the database, so each transaction needs to be verified by many computers. This will be the big downside of blockchains: everyone’s constant transaction verifications use a massive amount of electricity in addition to computing power.

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