New Indian blockchain search engine says Google has gone 'rogue' because of its over-reliance on 'sponsored' searches. Photo: Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski

So Google is joining the blockchain.

Bloomberg reports that the tech giant’s Alphabet Inc is working on blockchain-related technology to support its cloud business and hopes to “head off competition from emerging startups.” It has, in fine Google fashion, also been busy recently acquiring and investing in blockchain-related startups.

In 2016 Google started cloud-based user-tests for blockchain developers but this latest work is reportedly more wide ranging and could include a Google distributed digital ledger and a “white-label” blockchain that other companies can use to run on their own servers.

Alphabet is Google’s parent company and it has also invested in wallet service, Blockchain Luxembourg, the financial transaction network Ripple, the cryptocurrency asset management platform LedgerX and the international payment provider Veem.

Google is one of largest holders of personal information in the world and data security currently could not be a hotter topic. It makes blockchain’s decentralized approach to storage an attractive proposition for Google. It could be a game-changer and in many different ways. Blockchain is great, goes the mantra, because nobody owns the data that is stored on it. Except Google?