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Breakpoint 2023: Head in the Clouds: Google's Web3 Plans

Google Cloud announces new Web3 developments with fresh data capabilities and managed blockchain services at Breakpoint 2023.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


During Breakpoint 2023, James Tromans, Managing Director at Google Cloud’s Web3 division, laid out Google Cloud's current and future plans for advancing in the Web3 space. Tromans explained that the tech giant has been actively involved in the blockchain sphere for over five years, most notably by indexing blockchain data into Google's BigQuery service. The focus of his talk was on Google Cloud's commitment to integrating the vast possibilities of Web3 to provide accessible, practical solutions for developers and companies looking to innovate with blockchain technology. The dual announcements of Google Cloud's indexation of Solana blockchain data into BigQuery, along with the preview of Blockchain Node Engine for Solana, signals Google's active role in fostering growth within the developer community and supporting the broader adoption of blockchain applications.

Key Points:

Google Cloud's Web3 Journey

James Tromans shared that Google Cloud has been indexing blockchain data for the past five years, embedding it into Google Cloud BigQuery, a move that has facilitated access to blockchain data without the need for running a node. Tromans underlined that Google's presence at blockchain events such as Breakpoint and their engagement with the developer community show a growing commitment to the Web3 domain. This engagement is not merely opportunistic but is grounded in a desire to offer integrity-filled and community-friendly contributions that make sense for the wider technological ecosystem.

Solana Ecosystem Support

Tromans announced that Google Cloud has not only been supporting the Solana ecosystem through event participation but now also through technical infrastructure. He revealed that Google Cloud has been running a validator for the Solana network, which served as a learning experience and paved the way for new product offerings. Choosing Brazil for setting up their validator node emphasized Google's strategy to enter underrepresented markets with needed infrastructure.

Google Cloud's Product Developments

A centerpiece of the announcements were two new product offerings. First, the integration of Solana data into Google Cloud BigQuery, making it easier for developers to query and leverage real-time data for innovative purposes. The second announcement was about Blockchain Node Engine, a fully managed service that enables the deployment of Solana non-voting RPC nodes across Google Cloud's infrastructure, simplifying the process and management for developers.

Incentivizing Startups and Developers

Tromans emphasized the recently launched Web3-specific start-up program, which provides up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credits to help nurture new projects and innovations. The program offers extensive support, including access to Google's partner services, and actively seeks to include diverse organizations to the Web3 development scene.

Facts + Figures

  • Google Cloud has been indexing blockchain data for more than five years.
  • This data has been incorporated into Google Cloud BigQuery to assist those who wish not to run their own nodes.
  • Google Cloud has been running a validator on the Solana network, being the first in Brazil.
  • The announcement detailed the indexation of Solana blockchain data into Google Cloud BigQuery.
  • Google Cloud unveiled Blockchain Node Engine for Solana, allowing easy node deployment.
  • Up to $200,000 in credits are provided to startups as part of Google Cloud's startup program.
  • The startup program includes a straightforward application process and eligibility for pre-series A companies with less than $4,000 in credits used previously.
  • Google's infrastructure includes more than 100 zones and 26 undersea cables.
  • Google Cloud has been operational for at least a dozen blockchain networks, although not for revenue purposes but to contribute to network security and learn from the experience.

Top quotes

  • "I've been working at Google Cloud for the past four and a half years. But of that journey, I've spent about two years trying to lead our product engineering strategy and operations teams towards a common goal around what can Google Cloud do in the Web3 space."
  • "We've been indexing blockchain data for over five years. We've been putting that blockchain data into Google Cloud BigQuery."
  • "We were the first validator in Brazil."
  • "Our thesis overall is: How do we take the millions of developers that are already on GCP today and bring them to the Solano ecosystem or the blockchain ecosystem as a whole?"
  • "We're storing it once. You don't have to store that data. You just get billed whenever you touch it to query it when you're doing something interesting with the data."
  • "By running the Solana validator, you can imagine that the act of doing that informed us on how to run and build our first-party product inside blockchain, node engine."
  • "We're in a fairly unique position to help grow the developer ecosystem by not only making these products and capabilities accessible to more people, but we can also help educate the enterprises that we work with."
  • "We see the value in the technology. But the technology is only valuable when it's being applied to solve problems that are actually real and problems that people actually have."

Questions Answered

What is Google Cloud's Web3 strategy?

Google Cloud aims to integrate Web3 technologies to broaden its service offerings and appeal. This strategy includes indexing blockchain data and simplifying blockchain technologies' access and manageability. These efforts are designed to bring millions of existing GCP developers into the blockchain ecosystem and assist in applying blockchain solutions to real-world problems.

How is Google Cloud supporting the Solana ecosystem?

Google Cloud is supporting Solana both through running a validator node, which contributes to network security and infrastructure, and through the release of Blockchain Node Engine, which makes it easy for developers to deploy and manage Solana nodes.

What is Google Cloud offering to startups interested in Web3?

For startups diving into Web3, Google Cloud presents up to $200,000 in credits under its startup program, providing financial and technical assistance, enhancing their ability to innovate, and scale their blockchain initiatives on GCP.

How does the BigQuery service benefit blockchain developers?

With Google Cloud BigQuery, developers can effortlessly access indexed blockchain data without the complexity of running and managing their own nodes. This service simplifies the process of querying blockchain data, which can be instrumental in various applications, from analytics to developing new blockchain-based products.

How technical does a user need to be to deploy a Solana node on Google Cloud?

Deploying a Solana node using Google's Blockchain Node Engine is designed to be straightforward and does not require deep technical expertise in DevOps or site reliability engineering; it is fully managed by Google engineers. This significantly lowers the bar for users wanting to build and experiment with Solana's blockchain technology.