Google is forming a blockchain team led by a search advertising veteran

Google is forming a working group on blockchain and related technologies, led by an executive who has worked in search advertising, the company’s core business, for more than a decade. Shivakumar Venkataraman, vice president of engineering at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, is now running a unit focused on “blockchain and other next-generation distributed computing and data storage technologies,” according to an email seen by Bloomberg.

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According to the email, the executive will be the “founding leader” of Labs, Google’s business unit advancing various VR/AR projects. A company spokesman declined to comment. So far, Google has provided some cloud services to companies working on blockchain technology. But beyond that, as a company known for its experimentation, Google has some yet-to-be-launched and heavily invested resources in competing areas such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Twitter Inc.

Last fall, Google brought groups working on virtual reality hardware and software into Labs, headed by VP Clay Bavor, who also oversees the company’s startup incubator. At the time, Google described Bavor’s work as focusing on “long-term technology projects that directly support our core products and business.” The division working on blockchain is relatively small compared to Google’s other product areas, a person familiar with the company said.

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