How 10 Big Tech Companies are Adopting Web3 Technology

The Web3 model proposes an overhaul of our current state of the internet — one which will allow users to see greater ownership of their assets and connect with software without the need for intermediaries. However, where does this place our most-used intermediaries — such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Spotify?

As our current version of the web continues to evolve, it appears that executives and leaders at Big Tech firms have started finding ways to apply cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to their business models. Also, with large blockchain platforms (such as Polygon and Circle) now hiring some of the world’s top talent, it’s become abundantly clear that new roles and departments will need to be created for Web3.

Let’s take a look at 10 Big Tech companies that have started, or plan to start adopting Web3 technology in the near future.


At this point in time, this one probably needs no introduction — we all know about Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to turn his social media empire into a leading metaverse platform. Last October, Zuckerberg officially unveiled the company’s rebrand from Facebook to Meta, claiming that the new name would better reflect the company’s shift in gears.

Photo by © Lets Design Studio –

Upon announcing the rebrand, Zuckerberg touched on his goals to bring Meta to the forefront of a more decentralised and interoperable web model: “Together, we can finally put people at the centre of our technology. And together, we can unlock a massively bigger creator economy.”

However, so far things haven’t boded well for Meta’s adoption of crypto assets. After a series of controversies and an ultimately abandoned plan to launch its own coin, Zuckerberg hasn’t yet given up on trying to cement Meta’s role in the crypto space — with reports that the tech giant has filed 8 trademark applications within the last month. Amongst these trademark applications are crypto tokens, crypto trading, wallets, blockchain software and crypto exchanges.


As Web3-based music platforms have risen to the fore, word about Spotify’s entry into the Web3 fray has finally caught wind. The music streaming leader has recently posted a series of Web3-based job openings on their official website — including roles for managers, engineers and other experts in emerging trends — “especially as [they] relate” to creators, Web3 and other technologies.” 

Given that a growing list of artists have also started selling their work as NFTs, it’s no surprise that Spotify is creating its own foray into Web3. After facing accusations of not giving artists the lion’s share of their revenue, NFTs have also started presenting new ways for artists to monetise their work. Whether Spotify will create a marketplace for NFTs is yet to be seen — but after artists such as Snoop Dogg, Grimes and Kings of Leon have seen success with music NFT sales, there’s a high likelihood that we will see the streaming giant adopt some kind of Web3 model in the near future.


Many of those new to the Web3 space have probably wondered: what exactly does one do with an NFT image, besides trying to sell it? Setting it up as a profile picture seems to be another popular way for owners to showcase their status and general ownership of the popular digital asset. And out of all the Big Tech platforms, Twitter seems to be the one looking to capitalise on this new phenomenon.

Photo by © mundissima –

“Twitter is where people go to talk about things they care about — and often where people have their first experience with crypto and NFTs,” a company spokesperson has recently said in an official announcement. Moreover, they’ve noted how more users have started using NFTs “as a form of identity and self-expression, and as a way to join the thriving community and increasingly active conversation on Twitter.”

Those subscribed to Twitter Blue service will have the option to choose an NFT as their profile picture — and those with verified NFTs will now see them appear on their profile as a hexagon shape.

At the time of writing, however, there are still a number of barriers to setting up an NFT as a profile picture on Twitter. For example, the feature is currently only available to those who use iPhones and to those who live in the U.S. Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Also, only NFTs minted on Ethereum and stored on OpenSea are compatible with the service.

While it wouldn’t be right to classify Twitter as a Web3 company until it runs on a blockchain, its adoption of NFT technology is still proof that the company wants to find their footing in Web3.


In February 2022, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet — Google’s parent company — announced that the company is exploring ways to integrate blockchain technology into its flagship products and services. More specifically, Pichai mentioned a number of interest areas — with hints at adding more AR-based features to its applications and exploring ways for blockchain technology to add greater support to popular services, such as Google Maps and YouTube.

Alphabet’s cloud team (a growing area of business that competes with Microsoft and Amazon Web Services) has also expressed interest in finding ways to “support customer needs” through blockchain-powered platforms. 

On building Web3 technology into its services, Pichai has also commented: “Anytime there’s innovation, I find it exciting — and I think it is something we want to support the best we can. […] The web has always evolved, and it’s going to continue to evolve, and as Google, we have benefitted tremendously from open-source technologies, so we do plan to contribute there.”


In December 2021, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, claimed that the company had plans to “actively explore” NFTs in order to bring Web3 technology to a bigger audience. In an Instagram Story released that month, Mosseri further elaborated on the benefits of bringing NFTs into the platform: “I think it’s an interesting place that we can play and also to hopefully help creators.”

At SXSW this year, Mark Zuckerberg also announced the tech giant’s plans to introduce NFTs into Instagram in the “near term”. While Zuckerberg kept his details sparse, he’s hinted at the addition of NFTs into the platform’s ecosystem.

In a conversation with Shark Tank’s Daymond John, Zuckerberg also mentioned that he was “working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term.” He continued: “I’m not ready to announce exactly what that’s going to be today, but over the next several months, the ability to bring some of your NFTs in, and hopefully over time be able to mint things within that environment.”


In March 2021, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the availability of Ethereum on Amazon Managed Blockchain — a fully-managed service that allows users “to join public networks or set up and manage scalable private networks using popular open-source frameworks.” 

Photo by © Shalstock –

Amazon Managed Blockchain also gets rid of any overhead required for users to create or join a public network, scaling automatically to meet the demands of applications running millions of transactions. Once a network is up and running, Managed Blockchain makes it easier for users to manage their blockchain network — including the ability to manage certificates and invite new members.


Despite a growing list of his digs at Web3, Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company has still recently deployed blockchain technology for a special use case. One of these includes a platform that aims to create a “transparent, open and global registry” to track cobalt from mine to battery, assuring that the volume of any traceable material is understood in the production of electric vehicle batteries.

It was also recently announced at the Bitcoin 2022 Conference that both Blockstream and Block have begun the construction of a pilot crypto mine in Texas, which will be powered by Tesla’s solar installation and batteries. Blockstream CEO Adam Back further detailed the project, claiming that the pilot aims to show how bitcoin (BTC) mining has the ability to fund renewable energy initiatives.


In 2021, leading e-commerce platform Shopify launched a beta version of its NFT-compatible marketplace — allowing merchants to mint and sell NFT collectables on various different blockchains. The option to purchase NFTs using cryptocurrency was also made available to buyers. 

Shopify has also been integrating AR-selling functionalities into its digital storefronts since 2018. More recently, however, it acquired the team behind Primer — an AR-based, home-design startup.

As known Web3 enthusiasts and NFT collectors, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke and president Harley Finkelstein have already been quite vocal about their enthusiasm for Web3. Finkelstein has commented: “I think the future of retail, the future of commerce, is going to happen everywhere, on every surface area. That may be online, in the metaverse, AR, or VR. It may be offline at a beautiful boutique or a great farmers market.”


Jack Dorsey’s growing fintech company Block (formerly known as Square) has announced its plans to start mining for bitcoin — with a goal to make the process more efficient and accessible. Thomas Templeton, the company’s general hardware manager, has revealed the company’s overarching goal to create a future that is “fully decentralised and permissionless.”

bitcoin cryptocurrency mining farm

In a tweet posted in October 2021, Dorsey vocalised his belief that: “mining should be more distributed.” Furthermore, he commented that: “The more decentralised this is, the more resilient the bitcoin network becomes.”

To solve the issue of mining rings being expensive, difficult to find and hard to deliver, the company is also open to building a new ASIC — the specialised gear used to mine for bitcoin. With the help of Tesla’s technology, Block also plans to carry out its cryptocurrency mining on deregulated power grids found within Texas — an area where they’re more likely to see cheaper energy sources.


Last year, Sony filed several patents that would allow it to accept cryptocurrencies for e-sports betting in-game. Details have revealed that the patent would accept both physical and digital currencies for in-game betting, also coming with a system that would allow players to bet in real-time while participating in e-sports games. Betting odds would be determined by AI, based on each competing player’s play history.

It also appears that this patent doesn’t seem to be exclusive to PlayStation consoles. Sony has since mentioned that it would be willing to carry this technology over to consoles “made by Microsoft or Nintendo or other manufacturer virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) headsets, portable televisions, portable computers such as laptops and tablet computers, and other mobile devices — including smartphones.”

To keep learning more about Big Tech’s advancements into the Web3 space and all things NFT and metaverse-related, be sure to keep reading gmw3.

Google Acquires MicroLED Display Startup Raxium For AR Glasses

Google acquired AR MicroLED display startup Raxium.

The acquisition suggests Google may be working on AR glasses. Meta plans to release glasses in “a few years”, and reports suggest Apple plans to as early as 2025. In 2020, Meta signed a deal to buy several years worth of output from MicroLED supplier Plessey.

Almost all electronic displays today are either LCD, including its many variants, or OLED. LCD pixels provide color but separate backlights provide the light, which limits the contrast possible. OLED pixels are self-emissive, enabling true deep blacks and infinite contrast.

To be clear, “miniLED”, “QLED”, and similar names are just marketing terms for variants of LCD with improved backlight technology or tiny shutters for better contrast.

MicroLED is self-emissive like OLED, but should be orders of magnitude brighter than OLED, as well as significantly more power efficient. This makes them uniquely suitable for consumer AR glasses, which need to be usable even on sunny days yet powered by a small and light battery.

While all major electronics companies are actively researching microLED – including Samsung, Sony, and Apple – no company has yet figured out how to affordably mass manufacture it for consumer products.

Interestingly, The Information cited a Google source as saying the company is looking to acquire more AR glasses components suppliers. “Google has realized you can’t just own the operating system” for such devices, this person reportedly said. If true, Google could be planning to sell AR hardware, not just provide the software.

This article was originally published March 23 when the acquisition was reported by The Information. It has been updated as Google confirmed the news.

HoloLens Optics Chief Joins Google Amid Reported Push for Upcoming Google AR Headset

Bernard Kress, principal optical architect on Microsoft’s HoloLens team, has left the company to take on the role of Director of XR Engineering at the recently formed Google Labs. A report by The Verge maintains Google is also now gearing up to produce an AR headset that could directly compete with similar offerings from the likes of Apple and Meta.

Before joining Microsoft in 2015, Kress worked as principal optical architect behind Google Glass, the company’s smartglasses that found marked success in the enterprise sector after a rocky reception by consumers in 2013.

At Microsoft, Kress continued his work—principally focused on micro-optics, wafer scale optics, holography and nanophotonics—as partner optical architect on the HoloLens team, overseeing the release of both HoloLens and HoloLens 2.

Now Kress is back at Mountain View working on Google’s next AR headset. According to his LinkedIn, Kress has been leading the Optical Engineering department at Google Labs since November 2021—or right as Google shook things up by creating the AR/VR division.

And there’s no doubts about it: Kress says he’s focusing on creating consumer AR hardware at Google.

Hot on the heels of the strategic hire, a report from The Verge maintains Google is now gearing up to produce its own AR headset, which is allegedly codenamed Project Iris.

According to people familiar with the matter, Project Iris is said to ship sometime in 2024, although that date may simply be wishful thinking given the early stage of the project.

The prototype is said to be ski goggle-esque, providing a standalone experience with onboard power, computing, and outward-facing cameras for world sensing capabilities—similar in description and function to headsets like HoloLens or Magic Leap.

The standalone AR headset is said to use a custom Google processor running on either a version of Android or Google’s own Augmented Reality OS, which according to a recent job listing is currently in development.

Around 300 people are purportedly working on Project Iris, however Google plans to expand by “hundreds more.” Veteran AR/VR Google exec Clay Bavor is heading up the project, reporting directly to CEO Sundar Pichai.

Bavor is known for his work on Project Starline, an experimental light field display system created to be more natural way of chatting at a distance than conventional video conferencing apps. Bavor also oversaw the 2016 launch of Google’s Daydream VR platform (subsequently abandoned in 2019), and the development of ARCore, the software development kit for smartphone-based AR.

This comes as Apple is supposedly preparing to release a VR headset with passthrough AR capabilities (sometimes called ‘mixed reality), which reports maintain will come at some point in 2023 as a precursor to a dedicated Apple AR headset at some point afterwards.

Meta (formerly Facebook) is also working on its own VR headset with AR passthrough, codenamed Project Cambria, which may be positioned as direct competition to Apple’s own when the time comes.

The post HoloLens Optics Chief Joins Google Amid Reported Push for Upcoming Google AR Headset appeared first on Road to VR.

Google Reportedly Building AR Headset Codenamed Project Iris

Google has quite the chuequered history when it comes to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices. Most have failed to gain any momentum like the original Google Glass or Daydream View – Google Cardboard had it time in the sun though – but it seems the company hasn’t dropped those hardware aspirations. A new report this week suggests that Google is working on a new AR device codenamed Project Iris.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition2
Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 uses Kopin’s nHD Display. Image credit Kopin

As reported by The Verge, Project Iris is an AR headset in early development that sports outward-facing cameras to supply video of the real world that can then be combined with computer graphics for a mixed reality experience. There’s a suggestion that it’ll be more immersive than Magic Leap.

The prototype is rumoured to currently resemble a pair of ski goggles and that the device will be entirely standalone, requiring no external power source. That puts it more in line with Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 device rather than Magic Leap 2 or Nreal Light which require an external processor puck or smartphone respectively.

It’s powered by a custom Google processor, runs on Android but if recent job listings are anything to go by it’ll have its own unique UI. There’s also the indication that the AR device will support cloud streaming, utilising Google’s data centres to help improve the fidelity. That’s to be expected as it means the onboard processor doesn’t need to be hugely powerful. Cloud streaming has been accelerating in the XR space, last year Google Cloud revealed a collaboration with NVIDIA CloudXR and Varjo announced the feature for its Reality Cloud platform this week.

Magic Leap 2
Magic Leap 2. Image credit Magic Leap

How Project Iris will stack up against more vocal tech giants in the XR space such as Meta remains to be seen but just like Apple and its secretive plans, Google is trying to keep the project a secret. Supposedly the Pixel team are involved and the core team involved in Iris numbers around 300 people with more being hired, all overseen by Google VR boss Clay Bavor.

The sources familiar with Project Iris claim that 2024 has been earmarked for its launch. For continued updates on Project Iris, keep reading gmw3.

The VR Job Hub: Preloaded, Immersive Tech & Google

VR Job Hub

Every weekend VRFocus gathers together vacancies from across the virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) industry, in locations around the globe to help make finding that ideal job easier. Below is a selection of roles that are currently accepting applications across a number of disciplines, all within departments and companies that focus on immersive entertainment.

Remote & UKPreloadedGame/XR DesignerClick Here to Apply
Remote & UKPreloadedTechnical Art DirectorClick Here to Apply
Remote & UKPreloadedSenior Game/XR DesignerClick Here to Apply
Remote & UKPreloadedArt DirectorClick Here to Apply
Remote & UKPreloadedHead of XR & Game DesignClick Here to Apply
Remote & UKPreloadedSenior ProducerClick Here to Apply
Remote & UKPreloadedSenior Game Designer (Contract)Click Here to Apply
Remote & UKPreloadedTechnical ArtistClick Here to Apply
Vernon, British ColumbiaImmersive TechGraphic Designer & IllustratorClick Here to Apply
Vernon, British ColumbiaImmersive TechComputer Hardware TechnicianClick Here to Apply
Vernon, British ColumbiaImmersive TechGame DesignerClick Here to Apply
Vernon, British ColumbiaImmersive TechGeneral Labourer & CarpenterClick Here to Apply
Seattle, WAGoogle AR OSSenior Software Engineer, Embedded SystemsClick Here to Apply
Waterloo, CanadaGoogle AR OSSenior Software Developer, EmbeddedClick Here to Apply
Mountain View, CA/Austin, TX/Seattle, WAGoogle AR OSSenior Software Engineer, Embedded MLClick Here to Apply
Mountain View, CAGoogle AR OSSenior Software Engineer, CameraClick Here to Apply
Mountain View, CAGoogle AR OSSenior Software Engineer, GraphicsClick Here to Apply
Los Angeles, CAGoogle AR OSSystem Administrator, AR Data Capture InfrastructureClick Here to Apply
Waterloo, CanadaGoogleSenior Software Developer Tech Lead, Input, ARClick Here to Apply
Mountain View, CAGoogleSoftware Engineer III, AR PlatformsClick Here to Apply
Seattle, WAGoogleSenior Software Engineer, Tech Lead, Input, ARClick Here to Apply
Waterloo, CanadaGoogleSenior Software Developer, Camera, ARClick Here to Apply
Mountain View, CAGoogleEmbedded Systems Technical Program Manager, ARClick Here to Apply

Don’t forget, if there wasn’t anything that took your fancy this week there’s always last week’s listings on The VR Job Hub to check as well.

If you are an employer looking for someone to fill an immersive technology related role – regardless of the industry – don’t forget you can send us the lowdown on the position and we’ll be sure to feature it in that following week’s feature. Details should be sent to Peter Graham (

We’ll see you next week on VRFocus at the usual time of 3PM (UK) for another selection of jobs from around the world.

Google Building An ‘Augmented Reality OS’ For A New AR Device

Google is hiring in several positions working on an ‘Augmented Reality OS’ for an AR device, as reported by 9 To 5 Google.

There’s a variety of open positions involved in building the software for this AR device, with the listing for Senior Software Developer, Embedded, providing a description of the team working on the OS:

Our team is building the software components that control and manage the hardware on our Augmented Reality (AR) products. These are the software components that run on the AR devices and are the closest to the hardware. As Google adds products to the AR portfolio, the OS Foundations team is the very first software team to work with new hardware.

The full job listing is here. Likewise, postings for Senior Software Engineer, Camera and Senior Software Developer Tech Lead, Input describe building software for an “innovative AR device.” The listings say that this OS team “is the very first software team to work with new hardware.” The nature of this device is unclear, but the operating system and new hardware angle seems to imply a dedicated AR device, such as a headset. Apple is working on a still-unannounced VR/AR mixed reality headset while Meta is preparing a higher end headset code-named Cambria, and we’d expect Google to be very interested in the AR product category.

Mark Lucovsky also revealed that he started a new position at Google this week. Lucovsky previously led the VR/AR operating system effort at Facebook/Meta, where he was reportedly building a new operating system for AR. He also worked as a Microsoft engineer for many years, where he co-developed Windows NT. He will now “lead the Operating System team for Augmented Reality” at Google.

Most of Google’s recent efforts in the VR/AR space focused on the AR — the company has gradually reduced its focus on VR, ending support for Daydream, shutting down Google Poly and open sourcing its art software Tilt Brush. With these new job postings, it seems Google’s focus is likely to remain squarely on AR for the foreseeable future.

Google’s New ‘Labs’ Team Brings AR/VR, Project Starline & Area 120 Under a Single Roof

Google is shaking things up with the reorganization of its AR/VR efforts, Project Starline, and Area 120 in-house incubator, dubbing the internal team ‘Google Labs’.

As first reported by TechCrunch, Google is shifting a few of its notable forward-looking projects into a single team and bringing them under the leadership of Google veteran Clay Bavor.

Before taking the reigns of Google Labs, Bavor led the company’s AR/VR team where he oversaw the 2016 launch of its Android-based Daydream VR platform. It was an ambitious undertaking, although it was subsequently abandoned in 2019 due to a disappointing reception to its slot-in smartphone efforts and poor market performance of its 6DOF Daydream headset, Lenovo Mirage Solo. The team also helped develop ARCore, the augmented software development kit that brought smartphone-based AR to millions of Android devices.

More recently, Bavor led Google’s Project Starline, an experimental light field display system that the company envisions as a “magic window” of sorts, allowing far-flung users to speak in a more natural way than video conferencing apps can provide—and all without the need of a headset or special glasses.

Both Project Starline and its AR/VR efforts have a shared lineage within the company, but it seems Google is adding an entrepreneurial flare to Labs with the inclusion of Area 120, the in-house tech incubator that has seen the successful launch of several startups including Threadit, Stack, Adlingo, Gamesnacks, Avera AI, and Orion WiFi.

An no, this doesn’t mean the company is reviving the 2000s-era Google Labs, which was used as a public testbed to demonstrate new projects like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Wave. An internal company memo obtained by TechCrunch states the reorganization is “focused on starting and growing new, forward-looking investment areas across the company.”

“Central to this org is a new team called Labs, focused on extrapolating technology trends and incubating a set of high-potential, long-term projects,” the memo said.

As a result, it appears Area 120 is being elevated with its incorporation into Labs. TechCrunch notes that the incubator was “three layers deep in terms of reporting to Google CEO Sundar Pichai — even though Pichai himself had to sign off on its every exit.”

Google hasn’t officially announced Labs, however the company tacitly confirmed it by acknowledging Bavor’s new title, calling it “an expanded role” that will focus on “long-term technology projects that are in direct support of our core products and businesses.”

The post Google’s New ‘Labs’ Team Brings AR/VR, Project Starline & Area 120 Under a Single Roof appeared first on Road to VR.

New Google Stadia Job Listings Suggest VR Cloud-gaming Ambitions

Stadia, Google’s cloud-gaming company, is looking for new hires with a preference for virtual reality development experience.

Stadia is Google’s cloud-gaming service which runs games on powerful computers in the cloud and then streams them to your PC, laptop, or even smartphone. The idea is to allow any device to feel like a high-end gaming PC.

Stadia doesn’t currently offer VR cloud-gaming, but it seems to be a natural fit for the use-case considering that high-end VR gaming is exclusively in the realm of beefy gaming PCs, which create a high barrier to entry. If you could keep the high-powered processing in the cloud and then stream the results down to a headset connected to a low-powered computer (or even a standalone headset), you could make PC VR much more accessible. Indeed, new Stadia job listings from Google suggest the company is exploring the possibility.

Four job listings posted or updated as recently as September 7th seek developers and engineers with virtual reality experience among the “preferred qualifications” of the roles.

Interestingly, the roles are spread across Stadia teams that cover the spectrum from developer features to end-user features like game discovery.


Google isn’t the only company with VR cloud-gaming ambitions. Nvidia has already created its own VR cloud-streaming infrastructure called CloudXR, though it’s designed as a foundation for others to build upon rather than being a user-facing service itself. Still we may see the company use CloudXR to bring VR cloud-gaming capabilities to its existing consumer-facing cloud-gaming service, GeForce Now.

Similarly, Facebook kicked off its own cloud-gaming service last year. While it doesn’t offer VR gaming yet, the project is led by a former Oculus executive who clearly understands the potential of VR cloud-gaming.

VR cloud-streaming is definitely viable, but the key bottleneck is less about software or bandwidth and much more about latency. As we explored in our article about the ramifications of 5G on VR and AR, the real holdup for such services becoming widely available is the proliferation of edge computing infrastructure.

The post New Google Stadia Job Listings Suggest VR Cloud-gaming Ambitions appeared first on Road to VR.