Google’s inclusion of Bitcoin wallet balances sparks privacy debate

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Google has expanded its features to allow users to search wallet balances across multiple blockchains, such as Bitcoin, Arbitrum, Avalanche, Optimism, Polygon and Fantom. When entering the wallet address, search results display the token balance by network along with the last updated time.Users can search three Bitcoin address formats — P2PKH, P2SH and Bech32 — and view current balances and recent transactions. Incorporating Bitcoin data into search results boosts Google’s accessibility to on-chain activity, leveraging its extensive daily search volume. While some praise Google’s new feature as a move toward mainstream adoption, privacy-centric Bitcoin supporters have raised concerns about centralized data aggregation and its impact on privacy.An example of a Google Bitcoin wallet search. Source: GoogleGoogle’s latest feature comes after it introduced Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain search results, allowing users to check wallet balances with readable domain names like “vitalik.eth” for Ethereum wallet addresses. Google’s recent expansion builds on its initial introduction of Ethereum wallet balance searches in May 2023. In 2022, Google integrated a crypto feature enabling some Ethereum wallet addresses to have their Ether (ETH) balances tracked by the Google search engine, saving the need to make the trip to Etherscan.Related: Amazon takes minority share in ChatGPT rival Anthropic AIThe addition of wallet searches marks a shift in the tech giant’s attitude. Google prohibited Bitcoin-related advertisements in 2018 but recently reversed its stance, allowing spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) advertisements following their approval in the United States in January.ETF products from notable asset managers like BlackRock now appear in search results.In October 2022, Google partnered with Coinbase to allow its customers to pay for cloud services with crypto. The tech firm also initiated a countdown to the Ethereum Merge event — Ethereum’s transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) in 2022 — by featuring animated pandas moving in sync.In 2023, Google Cloud joined forces with Web3 startup Orderly Network to create user-centric developer tools for decentralized finance (DeFi) to lower the barrier of entry into the decentralized world. The collaboration aimed to address DeFi’s major hurdles: entry barriers and security issues, which have been long-standing challenges in the ecosystem.Magazine: Doctor Who materializes in Web3 — Tony Pearce’s journey in time and space

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Google’s inclusion of Bitcoin wallet balances sparks privacy debate is written by Cointelegraph by Amaka Nwaokocha for cointelegraph.com

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