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Officially called Blockchain Node Engine, Google’s offering is a “fully managed service,” meaning customers won’t have to hire their own teams to maintain or monitor their nodes. Instead, Google says it “actively monitors the nodes and restarts them if anything goes wrong.”
The Blockchain Node Engine also includes various security features like Google’s Cloud Armor, which is designed to prevent denial-of-service (DDos) attacks that spam and slow down networks.
Google says its nodes will also exist behind a VPC firewall, which allows users to customize the kind of permissions they want. Customers can also choose where their nodes are geographically deployed.
Nodes—which are containers that run code for crypto networks—are an essential Web3 building block and are required for networks like Ethereum to run properly. The more nodes a network has, the more decentralized, scalable, and secure it can become.
Already operating on a global scale, Google is clearly aware of this fact, and wants to be a key player in the Web3 infrastructure space. Richard Widmann, Google’s Head of Web3 Strategy, previously told Decrypt at the Mainnet conference that he’s trying to “build a giant bridge” between the traditional tech industry and Web3 by offering such cloud-based services.
When asked if the Node Engine could help prevent network outages, James Tromans, Google’s Director of Cloud Web3, told Decrypt via email that outages happen “for a number of different reasons.”
“In those situations where the underlying infrastructure is at fault, then the more providers offering high quality node infrastructure like that of Google Cloud, the more redundancy we have in place and the less likely end users will see disruption,” Tromans said.
Increasing the number of nodes in a network can also improve a network’s overall security. Thousands of nodes around the world can act as thousands of backups in case any nodes encounter technical issues or are otherwise shut down.
While Google is only supporting Ethereum nodes at launch, it wants to expand its Node Engine service to more networks.
“We recognize that other chains are gaining momentum, some of which we also plan on supporting in the future,” Tromans told Decrypt.
This Node Engine news is unsurprising for those familiar with Google’s stance on crypto and Web3. Earlier this year, Google revealed it formed a team of staff dedicated to digital assets and cloud-based Web3 services.
In January, Google called blockchain technology a “tremendous innovation” and shared its intentions of building node validators as a service and data hosting services for the blockchain histories of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Polygon, to name a few.
While Google’s Node Engine launch is a major development for Web3 infrastructure, it may raise centralizing concerns for some. Widmann is aware of this possibility—and doesn’t want Google to take over Web3.
“If everything is running on Google, I will be the first to say that is a problem, frankly,” Widmann said.