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Diane Greene, senior vice president for Google Cloud, speaks at Google Cloud Next 2017. (Google Photo)

It’s not a huge surprise that a company known for moonshots is taking a close look at the blockchain.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Google is developing its own version of blockchain technology, which is the the underpinning for Bitcoin and something the tech world is eyeing very closely. Blockchains are distributed ledgers secured by powerful cryptography algorithms, and even those not invested in Bitcoin are intrigued by their potential to create new types of tech products and services.

For the moment, “potential” seems to be the key word when it comes to uses of blockchain tech outside of cryptocurrencies. IBM and Microsoft already offer custom blockchain services as part of their overall cloud computing strategies, but it’s not at all clear how many people are actually using those services, or if they’re using blockchains for important parts of their product strategies.

Back in November Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy more or less dismissed considerations that it needs to offer a blockchain product, telling reporters during a press conference at re:Invent 2017 that AWS doesn’t “build technology because we think it is cool.” You can be sure, however, that the cloud market leader is watching the development of blockchain-based cloud services very closely.

Google, on the other hand, has built technology for the sake of technological experiment since its earliest days. Blockchains are a cool, interesting, and quite nerdy pursuit that a bunch of Googlers are probably working on in their spare time, anyway, and if they ever show real business potential in-house expertise will be essential.

The report suggested Google is thinking about developing its own blockchain technology for security features within Google Cloud, the same day its cloud division unveiled several new security-oriented services at an event in New York. Earlier today, Google’s top advertising executive implied the blockchain wasn’t quite ready to be part of Google’s lifeblood:

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