Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, is venturing deeper into the blockchain space with the formation of a new group dedicated to distributed ledger technology.

Shivakumar Venkataraman, Google’s engineering vice president, will spearhead the effort to take tech giant deeper into the distributed computing and blockchain space.

According to a Jan 20 Bloomberg report, the new unit is focused on “blockchain and other next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies.” The Labs division is where Google develops its virtual and augmented reality technologies, the report added.

There was no mention of this year’s buzzword “metaverse” but it is likely that this may be incorporated in an effort to keep up with rivals like Meta (formerly Facebook).

Google’s other main rival, Microsoft, did mention the metaverse this week when it announced the $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard.

Google betting big on blockchain

Google has yet to launch any major public blockchain efforts but has offered cloud services to blockchain and crypto firms. 

In November, Google Labs was reorganized under company vice president Clay Bavor. The move was part of a wider push to work on “long-term technology projects that are in direct support of our core products and businesses,” it stated.

There were no further details on specific technologies under the new division or whether the search giant would be developing its own enterprise distributed ledger solution.

In September, Google Cloud partnered with Dapper Labs to collaborate on network scaling on its Flow blockchain which is the backbone of some huge decentralized applications (dApps) and NFT collections.

In a related development, Google Pay has hired PayPal executive Arnold Goldberg to bolster its flagging payments app. The plan is to expand the platform to encompass all kinds of payment channels including cryptocurrencies.

According to Bill Ready, President of commerce at the tech giant:

“Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to. As user demand and merchant demand evolves, we’ll evolve with it.”

Google Pay has partnered with crypto exchanges such as Coinbase in an effort to store crypto assets in “digital cards,” while still having users pay in traditional currencies.

The move is part of a “broader strategy to team up with a wider range of financial services, including cryptocurrencies,” Ready told Bloomberg.

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