There’s a line drawn in the sand between Web2 and Web3. But it doesn’t need to be that way, according to James Tromans, head of Web3 at the world’s third-largest online data storage facility Google Cloud. Tromans argues that the two are far from mutually exclusive.
Critics of Big Tech — so-called Web2 companies such as Facebook, Amazon and Troman’s own parent firm Google, which like other Google services including YouTube and Gmail, is part of multinational software conglomerate Alphabet Inc. — argue that the monopoly effect they exert over user-generated content, online social interaction and once-shared internet architecture is exploitative.
In contrast, proponents of the decentralized philosophy underpinning Web3 — a new phase of the internet built around decentralized blockchain technologies, the metaverse, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — aim to return ownership over digital production to internet users.
Prior to entering Web3 with Google, Tromans held trading and engineering leadership positions at banking giant Citi. He then built on his academic roots in artificial intelligence — he holds a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience of vision — as a specialist in data engineering and machine learning at Google before taking over at the helm of Web3 operations at Google Cloud in May 2022.
Despite what some might see as a disparity between Google, a Big Tech giant that reported US$76.4 billion in Q2 revenue this year, and decentralized finance, Tromans said Google Cloud aims to provide infrastructure for Web3 developers to build. In this exclusive interview at Token 2049 in Singapore, he spoke to Forkast’s Will Fee about Google Cloud’s blockchain activities, decentralization, and where he sees AI use heading next.
Full interview here