UPDATED | March 23, 2018:
A US Patent application, filed in September, but disclosed on March 22, 2018, states that Google is interested in blockchain technology for auditing purposes. Moreover, Bloomberg recently reported that annoymous "people familiar with the situation" at the company have said that Google is interested in blockchain applications for its online cloud service.
ORIGINAL | March 22, 2018:
Speaking from the Advertising Week Europe conference earlier today, Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google's senior vice president of ads and commerce, told reporters that the US-based multinational technology company has a "small team" looking for ways to apply blockchain technology to the various digital products and services that the firm currently offers.
"This is a research topic, so I don't have anything super-definitive to say," said Ramaswamy during a question and answer session at the London venue today. "We have a small team that is looking at it. The core blockchain technology is not something that is super-scalable in terms of the sheer number of transactions it can run."
Ramaswamy's comments today exemplify the notion that, while experts generally agree blockchain has significant value aside from cryptocurrency, the technology still needs further research and development.
"The promise of blockchain of course is twofold," Ramaswamy added. "One is friction-free value transfer, you can think of it as money transfer working at scale with no friction and that can have an amazing effect on society, because it's hard to move money. It always costs 2ish percent in most Western countries to move money."
He went on to say, "I think there is a lot of promise in things like that. Blockchain as a recording technology also has promise. It is super early for us to say whether they are going to become products just yet. We are actively looking at it. We don't have really any product announcements to make on this front."
Spencer and Ramaswamy's statements taken as a whole are evidence that Google is joining a growing international chorus of nations, supranational organizations, and prominent corporations that have signaled their continued bullish interest in blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), especially for applications outside of cryptocurrency.
With all the resources at Google's disposal, it remains unclear if its blockchain research group has connected the dots that blockchain technology itself can be used to track and regulate ads. Other companies have already been exploring this possibility.
On the other hand, perhaps the directors at Google are dragging their heels because they understand that DLTs could bolster the growing public awareness that blockchain technology has the potential to return personal data ownership and control to the individuals they were derived from.