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Google Unveils Multi-Blockchain Wallet Search Feature, Sparking Privacy Debates

Google has taken a significant leap in enhancing user experience by integrating the ability to search for wallet balances across various blockchains, including Bitcoin, Arbitrum, Avalanche, Optimism, Polygon, and Fantom.

Users can now effortlessly input a wallet address and receive detailed information on token balances by network and the latest update time.

This feature supports three Bitcoin address formats — P2PKH, P2SH, and Bech32 — enabling users to check current balances and recent transactions seamlessly.

This integration of Bitcoin data into Google’s search results marks a significant advancement in making on-chain activity more accessible, leveraging Google’s massive daily search traffic.

Although this development has been met with applause for promoting mainstream adoption, it has also sparked privacy concerns among Bitcoin enthusiasts who prioritize privacy, due to fears over centralized data aggregation.

Following its introduction of Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain search capabilities, Google’s new feature represents a continued expansion of its blockchain-related services.

Users can now search for wallet balances using easily recognizable domain names, such as “vitalik.eth” for Ethereum wallet addresses.

This update builds on Google’s initial steps toward embracing the crypto world, starting with Ethereum wallet balance searches in May 2023 and the integration of a feature in 2022 that tracked some Ethereum wallet balances directly through Google, bypassing the need to visit Etherscan.

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The progression in Google’s approach is notable, from banning Bitcoin-related advertisements in 2018 to its recent reversal, which now welcomes advertisements for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) following their U.S. approval in January.

This change has allowed ETF offerings from prominent asset managers like BlackRock to feature in Google’s search results.

Moreover, in October 2022, Google’s partnership with Coinbase enabled customers to pay for cloud services with cryptocurrencies, demonstrating Google’s growing embrace of digital currencies.

Furthermore, Google has shown its support for significant events in the crypto world, such as the Ethereum Merge, by featuring themed animations, and has partnered with Web3 startup Orderly Network in 2023.

This collaboration aims to develop user-friendly developer tools for decentralized finance (DeFi), addressing some of the main challenges within the DeFi ecosystem, including entry barriers and security concerns.

This series of initiatives highlights Google’s evolving relationship with the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, positioning it as a key player in the bridge between mainstream users and the decentralized digital world.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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