Wendy’s Launches AI Drive-Thru Chatbot

Wendy’s has announced a partnership with Google Cloud to launch an AI chatbot called “Wendy’s FreshAI” that will take orders from drive-thru customers. Over 75% of Wendy’s customers prefer to place their orders via drive-thru, making this an important area for the fast-food chain to focus on.

The chatbot will use natural language processing to understand what customers are saying and then generate a response using machine learning algorithms. This technology is already used by AI chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which has demonstrated impressive abilities in generating human-like responses.

According to a statement from Google Cloud, the use of an AI chatbot to service drive-thru customers has the potential to revolutionize the fast-food industry. This technology has the potential to reduce wait times, increase order accuracy, and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Wendy’s CEO and president Todd Penegor has said that the chatbot will be “very conversational” and customers “won’t know they’re talking to anybody but an employee.” This level of conversational ability will be important in creating a seamless and enjoyable customer experience.

This partnership with Google Cloud is just the latest example of how AI and machine learning are being used in the fast-food industry. Other chains like McDonald’s and Burger King have also been experimenting with AI-powered technology to streamline their operations and improve customer experience.

Overall, the use of AI chatbots like “Wendy’s FreshAI” has the potential to significantly improve the drive-thru experience for customers, while also providing cost savings and operational efficiencies for fast-food chains. As this technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more and more AI-powered solutions in the food service industry.


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Google Cloud and Polygon Labs partner for Ethereum scaling

At the Consensus 2023 conference, Polygon Labs and Google Cloud made the announcement of a multi-year partnership with the intention of developing and improving the tools and infrastructure associated with the Ethereum scaling protocol. As part of the cooperation, Google Cloud will make a framework and developer tools available to Polygon in order to facilitate the creation of Web3 products and decentralized apps (DApps) on Polygon.

The deployment of Google Cloud’s architecture and development tools is expected to be beneficial to Polygon’s key protocols, such as Polygon proof-of-stake (PoS), Polygon zkEVM, and Polygon Supernets. Through this partnership, we hope to simplify the process of integrating developers, which will in turn make it simpler to construct, launch, and grow DApps on Polygon.

Additionally, it is anticipated that the partnership with Google Cloud will accelerate the development of Polygon’s zero-knowledge system. In comparison to the currently available infrastructure, it has been revealed that the testing of Polygon zkEVM’s zero-knowledge proofs on Google Cloud has resulted in transactions that are both quicker and less expensive.

An Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) scaling solution known as Polygon zkEVM beta was released to the mainnet in March of 2023. This technology is intended to enable decreased transaction costs and higher throughput in the implementation of smart contracts. The Polygon ecosystem intends to do away with the need that Polygon developers install and operate Polygon PoS nodes with the support of the Blockchain Node Engine that is offered by Google Cloud. This will assist with operations that are labor-intensive and need a lot of time, as well as the expensive overheads of purchasing, maintaining, and running specialized blockchain nodes.

In conclusion, the cooperation between Google Cloud and Polygon Labs aims to advance the tools and infrastructure of the Ethereum scaling protocol, as well as to ease developer integration in order to construct, launch, and expand Web3 products and DApps on Polygon. The integration of Google Cloud’s framework and development tools is predicted to be beneficial to Polygon’s fundamental protocols. Additionally, the testing of Polygon zkEVM’s zero-knowledge proofs on Google Cloud is anticipated to result in transactions that are both quicker and less expensive.


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Polygon and Google Cloud Partner for Ethereum Scaling Tools

Polygon Labs and Google Cloud have announced a multi-year partnership aimed at enhancing the development of Ethereum scaling protocol’s infrastructure and tools. The partnership was unveiled at Consensus 2023 and is expected to provide a significant boost to the Ethereum ecosystem.

Polygon’s core protocols, including Polygon proof-of-stake (PoS), Polygon zkEVM and Polygon Supernets, are set to benefit from Google Cloud’s framework and developer tools. The collaboration aims to simplify developer integration to build, launch and grow Web3 products and decentralized applications (DApps) on Polygon.

As part of the partnership, Google Cloud’s Blockchain Node Engine will be used by the Polygon ecosystem to assist with time-intensive processes and costly overheads of acquiring, maintaining and operating dedicated blockchain nodes. This specific integration intends to remove the need for Polygon developers to configure and run Polygon PoS nodes.

The Polygon zkEVM beta, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) scaling solution, was launched to mainnet in March 2023, powering reduced transaction costs and increased throughput of smart contract deployments. Google Cloud’s partnership with the ecosystem is expected to advance Polygon’s zero-knowledge development. Testing of Polygon zkEVM’s zero-knowledge proofs on Google Cloud reportedly resulted in faster and cheaper transactions compared to the existing infrastructure available.

The partnership is aimed at simplifying the development process for Web3 products and DApps, and advancing the growth of the Ethereum ecosystem. It is also expected to promote the adoption of blockchain technology by enabling developers to create more efficient, cost-effective and scalable decentralized applications.

Polygon has established itself as a leading player in the Ethereum ecosystem, providing scaling solutions and infrastructure to help developers build and launch DApps. With the help of Google Cloud’s advanced tools and infrastructure, Polygon is poised to further expand its offerings and provide even greater value to its users.

In conclusion, the partnership between Polygon Labs and Google Cloud represents a significant step forward for the Ethereum ecosystem, and is expected to have far-reaching implications for the development and adoption of blockchain technology. With the backing of one of the world’s leading cloud computing providers, Polygon is well-positioned to continue driving innovation and growth in the Web3 space.


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BNB Chain Partners with Google Cloud to Enhance Web3 DApps

Layer-1 blockchain technology, BNB Chain, has announced its partnership with Google Clouds, a collaboration that will see decentralized applications and smart contracts hosted on the protocol gain access to the cloud service provider’s infrastructures. 


While there is a growth in the number of decentralized cloud infrastructure service providers in the blockchain world, centralized alternatives still have some competitive advantage over protocols looking to host their servers. As a major player in the cloud infrastructure world, Google Clouds has somewhat been less visible when compared to Amazon Web Services (AWS) amongst crypto firms.

The partnership between BNB Chain and Google Cloud is a strategic cooperation and will see as many as 1500 DApps residents on the former utilize the cloud’s advanced analytics for on-chain data. Per the terms of the partnership, “about 150 projects under a BNB-focused accelerator program will also get ‘accelerated access’ to Google Cloud’s startup support program.”

“Google Cloud is a very good Web2 player and has really done a lot of Web3 stuff. It’s important for us to just work with big players who have big visions, and we share the same DNA and same visions,” said Gwendolyn Regina, investment director of BNB Chain.

The Google Cloud and BNB Chain partnership is not a new thing, given that many tech giants nowadays are exploring avenues to link up with active players in the space. Back in October 2020, Google Cloud joined the EOS blockchain as a block producer candidate.

Besides the active engagement on the part of Google Cloud, other major players, including Microsoft Azure and AWS, also have highly acclaimed partnerships with exchanges and protocols. In one of such deals, Crypto.com revealed it adopted AWS as its cloud service of choice for scalability and security back in December 2020 as it looks to establish its footholds in the ecosystem at the time.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Google Creates Web3 Team to Take Advantage of Growing Crypto Popularity

To set the ball rolling in Web3, Google is assembling a team to create services for developers in this ecosystem through its cloud unit, according to CNBC.

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Through an email, Amit Zavery, the vice president at Google Cloud, noted that the objective was to make the Google Cloud Platform the most preferred by developers in Web3. He wrote:

“While the world is still early in its embrace of Web3, it is a market that is already demonstrating tremendous potential with many customers asking us to increase our support for Web3 and Crypto related technologies.”

Therefore, Google seeks to tap the potential presented by the crypto space, given that Web3 Pioneers have developed peer-to-peer and decentralized systems intended to transform the internet.


As a new iteration of the World Wide Web-based on blockchain technology, Web3 aims to incorporate token-based economics and decentralization concepts. 


With Google battling for market share in cloud infrastructure against Amazon, Alibaba, and Microsoft, the tech giant intends to provide back-end services to developers eyeing their own Web3 software. 


Zavery pointed out:

“We’re not trying to be part of that cryptocurrency wave directly. We’re providing technologies for companies to use and take advantage of the distributed nature of Web3 in their current businesses and enterprises.”

Therefore, the in-house team shows Google’s commitment to the crypto market.


Steve Cooper, Warner Music Group CEO, opined that Web3 would revamp the music industry. He added:

“From collectibles to music royalties, Web3 represents an exciting future for the music industry that will help our artists reach millions upon millions of new fans in interesting and innovative ways.”

Crypto exchange KuCoin recently rolled out a $100 million “Creators Fund” to propel the Web3 ecosystem and support early-stage non-fungible token (NFT) projects, Blockchain.News reported. Concerted efforts like these are crucial toward the development of the Web3.0 space which at present is still in its nascent stages.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Hackers Are Now Using Compromised Cloud Accounts To Mine Crypto

Attackers are exploiting poorly configured cloud accounts to mine crypto, Google warned users in a recent report.

Cryptocurrency mining is a computationally intensive activity. And Google Cloud customers can access it at a cost. However, miners are now hacking Google Cloud accounts for mining purposes.

In the report titled “Threat Horizons,” Google’s cybersecurity team assessed various threats to Cloud users, providing details of the breaches.

Related Reading | Data Shows Crypto Hacks And Fraud In 2021 Are On Track For A New Record

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The report also provided cybersecurity threat intelligence to cloud users. The aim is to enable them “better configure their environments and defenses in manners most specific to their needs.”

Crypto Miners Hacking Google Accounts

In the report, the cybersecurity team analyzed 50 recently compromised Google Cloud accounts. And out of those, 86% were related to crypto mining. “Malicious actors were observed performing cryptocurrency mining within compromised Cloud instances,” Google wrote.

Related Reading | Ethereum Miner Revenue Outpaces Bitcoin In 2021

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The report also stated that in the majority of these incidents, the hackers downloaded crypto mining software to the compromised accounts within 22 seconds. The attacks were scripted, and it would have been impossible to manually stop them. Additionally, in 10% of these incidents, the hackers scanned other publicly available resources on the Internet to identify vulnerable systems. While in 8% of the instances, they attacked other targets.

However, as reported by the cybersecurity team, the crypto mining hacks were not the only attacks.

“The cloud threat landscape in 2021 was more complex than just rogue cryptocurrency miners, of course,” wrote Bob Mechler, Google Cloud Director of the office of the Chief Information Security Officer, and Seth Rosenblatt, Google Cloud Security Editor, in a blog post.

Other Threats To Google Cloud Users

Another threat the team identified was a phishing attack by the Russian group called APT28, or Fancy Bear. The attackers targeted 12,000 Gmail accounts in a mass phishing attempt. They attempted to trick users into handing over their login details. Google, however, said it had blocked all the phishing emails, and no user was compromised.

The report also pointed out an attack by a North Korean government-backed group. This hacker group posed as Samsung recruiters, sending fake job opportunities to employees at South Korean information security companies. They attached a malicious link to malware stored in Google Drive. Google said it also blocked it.

Another threat to cloud users is ransomware attacks, whereby hackers encrypt users’ data until they pay. In the report, Google mentions the formidable Black Matter ransomware group. And although the group announced that it was shutting down earlier this month, Google is still cautious. “Google has received reports that the Black Matter ransomware group has announced it will shut down operations given outside pressure. Until this is confirmed, Black Matter still poses a risk.”

Total Crypto Market Cap on TradingView.com

Total crypto market at $2.4 Trillion | Source: Crypto Total Market Cap from TradingView.com

Google attributes some of these attacks to users’ poor security practices. And also vulnerabilities in third-party software that the users install.

The report also recommends a few ways to prevent these attacks. One of which is enabling two-factor authentication.

Featured image by Dreamstime, Chart from TradingView.com


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Bakkt Partners With Google On Payments, Cloud Services

Key Takeaways

  • Crypto trading platform Bakkt has announced a partnership with Google Pay that will integrate each platform’s payment services,
  • Bakkt will also use Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider.
  • The two companies will additionally work to build new AI and geolocation tools for business insights.

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Crypto trading platform Bakkt announced a partnership with Google today that will integrate payments services across platforms and make use of cloud solutions to build new technology.

Partnership Focuses on Payments

Under the partnership, Bakkt users will be able to add their virtual Bakkt Visa Debit Card to Google Pay, which will allow the purchase of goods and services wherever Google Pay is accepted. Crypto assets will be converted to fiat currency at the point of sale.

Bakkt also announced that it has selected Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider and said that it will build and market business solutions powered by the service.

Google Cloud President of North America Kirsten Kliphouse commented on the partnership, stating:

“Google Cloud has been at the forefront, powering many retailers and merchants. We are proud to help Bakkt accelerate and scale the availability of their innovative solutions, powered by Google technologies.”

The firm additionally announced that it would work with Google to build new AI projects, machine learning tools, and geolocation functionality on its platform “to draw out deep, location-aware business insights leveraging Google Cloud’s industry-leading tools.”

While critics may have privacy concerns over those technologies, Bakkt claims this will provide its customers with improved loyalty redemption options, while its partners will see “valuable consumer behavior patterns powered by Google Cloud infrastructure.”

What Is Bakkt?

Though Bakkt initially began as a Bitcoin futures trading platform, it has gradually expanded its business to offer a crypto payment and trading service for retail investors.

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Notably, it offers rewards and loyalty programs for brands such as Starbucks, Chipotle, Marriott Hotels, and Alaskan Airlines; reward points can be converted into cash. It also allows users to send and withdraw cryptocurrency, something that some competing investment apps like Robinhood do not yet allow.

Bakkt was founded by current CEO Jeffrey Sprecher of the Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). His wife, former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, formerly served as CEO. Loeffler was one of the senators accused of insider trading last year, though the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed its investigation.

The firm announced plans to go public via SPAC earlier this year, though its plans have not been officially approved.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author held BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies.

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Dapper Labs Taps Google to Help Scale FLOW

Key Takeaways

  • Google Cloud has partnered with NFT company Dapper Labs.
  • Dapper Labs will use Google’s cloud services to help scale its in-house blockchain, FLOW.
  • Google has increased its involvement in the crypto space this year with several key partnerships.

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Google has teamed up with Dapper Labs in a multi-year partnership deal. Dapper Labs will utilize Google Cloud to help support and scale the FLOW blockchain, which hosts many of the company’s leading creations.

Google Cloud Backs Dapper Labs

Dapper Labs, the company behind the hit NFT collectibles NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, has signed a multi-year partnership with Google Cloud, Forbes reported Tuesday. 

The deal will focus on supporting and scaling Dapper Lab’s in-house FLOW blockchain using Google Cloud’s network infrastructure. FLOW is already home to established NFT projects such as NBA Top Shot, which has recorded over $680 million in trading volume since it launched last October. 

Google will host FLOW nodes using its cloud services, making development on the blockchain easier. Additionally, Google appears receptive to concerns over the energy usage of cryptocurrencies. Janet Kennedy, Google Cloud North America’s vice president, has stated that developers will be able to choose the regions that power their applications based on the energy consumption of that region. 

Commenting on the partnership with Dapper Labs, Kennedy said:

“Blockchain technology is becoming more and more mainstream. So companies like Dapper need scalable, secure infrastructure to grow their business, and even more importantly, support their networks.”

While Google is now enthusiastic about offering its services to support cryptocurrencies, it is somewhat late to the party. Microsoft was the first big company to start offering its cloud infrastructure to blockchains in 2015, with Amazon also launching a similar service in 2019. However, in February, Google confirmed it was using its cloud service to run a node for the enterprise-grade distributed ledger Hedera Hashgraph, along with joining the project’s council, marking a big step for the company’s involvement in crypto technology. 

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Despite the late start, Google has not shied away from offering its products in the crypto space. Earlier this year, the company announced the integration of its BigQuery data analytics platform with Polygon, providing useful metrics for analysis such as the most active and popular tokens, contracts, and apps on the network. Since then, Google has also integrated with Chainlink, allowing data from outside sources to be used in applications built directly on the blockchain. 

Following the success of NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs is looking to expand its sport-based NFT collectibles with the help of Google’s cloud services. The company is currently building a similar NFT platform to NBA Top Shot for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, offering mixed martial arts fans limited collectibles through FLOW.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this feature, the author owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Polygon Datasets Now Available on Google Cloud

Key Takeaways

  • Polygon’s blockchain datasets can now be viewed through Google Cloud’s BigQuery tool.
  • The integration will provide useful metrics for analysis like the most active and popular tokens, contracts, and apps on the network.
  • The team said that the update will be critical for the network’s growth.

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Ethereum’s popular scaling network Polygon has announced that its blockchain datasets are now integrated with Google Cloud’s BigQuery tool.

Polygon Data Available on Google Cloud

Polygon’s datasets are now available in Google Cloud.

According to Polygon, the integration with Google Cloud’s BigQuery service will help analysts, data scientists, and developers derive useful insights from the Polygon blockchain. Polygon runs a scalable bridge network running parallel to Ethereum and functions like a “commit chain” that is both faster and much cheaper than Ethereum mainnet.

The data insights platform will help the network’s growth with decentralized applications, as well as its usage in the enterprise setting.

Google’s Cloud division has collaborated with key cryptocurrency projects like Chainlink and Theta Network in the past. Both projects leveraged Google Cloud for their computing needs.

BigQuery is one of the most popular data analytics platforms worldwide. It leverages the capabilities of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the same infrastructure that powers products like Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube.

It is a simple yet powerful tool to query all kinds of datasets, including those pulled from public blockchains. After datasets are processed, the insights are organized using standard SQL syntax. According to Polygon, the tool functions as an “indexer” for both simple and complex queries used in on-chain analysis. For example, it can be used to run queries of several blockchains and track the activity associated with interoperable tokens.

Polygon Making Progress 

For Polygon, the integration will be useful for analyzing metrics like the most active and popular tokens, contracts, or apps on the network.

At the same time, the analytics tool may make it easier for anyone to monitor transactions, and help regulators to more effectively analyze the Polygon chain for illegal activities such as money laundering and tax evasion. However, that’s a common occurrence with all public blockchains.

The availability of Polygon’s blockchain data in BigQuery’s analytics platform is being provided under Google Cloud’s Public Datasets Program, under which the tech giant has made available more than 100 publicly available datasets from various industries.

Polygon has seen explosive growth in the last six months in terms of daily active users, transactions, and total value locked (TVL). The growth accelerated after major DeFi projects like Aave, SushiSwap, Curve, 1inch Network, and others decided to expand to Polygon, attracting plenty of Ethereum users and billions of dollars worth of liquidity.

The latest technical update follows the launch of the much anticipated Polygon SDK, a set of software modules that allow developers to deploy their own Polygon-based chains.

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Google Cloud Developers Can Now Access Trusted IoT Data after IoTeX Integration

IoTeX, an open ecosystem connecting the Internet of Trusted Things, has completed its integration with Google’s BigQuery, an update on Dec 18 shows.

BigQuery and IoTeX Integration

The integration now makes it possible for Google Cloud developers to access, extract, de-normalize, and draw insights from IoTeX data. Google Cloud will, in real-time, update, and make available IoTeX data to users who may need them to solve a real-world problem. 

The idea behind IoTeX is to democratize the availability of blockchain data and ensure the generation of verifiable data. These can be consequently used in sensitive operations by end-users.

With this integration, high quality, private, and verifiable data will be accessible to the broader technology industry, according to Raullen Chai. He is the co-founder of IoTeX, and a former Google Tech lead.

Commenting, he said:

“Google Cloud has an incredible reach and depth of connections. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to make verifiable data from the IoTeX Network available to the broader technology industry.”

Availing Verifiable Data to Google Cloud Developers

IoTeX’s objective is to connect the physical world “block by block.” Its team comprises leaders from the tech world. They are combining the blockchain, secure hardware, and confidential computing to power the next generation of IoT devices, economies, and networks.

BigQuery is a cloud-based and enterprise data warehouse enabling users to query data using the standard SQL syntax. As a serverless data warehouse, it means IoTeX will store their data cheaply and scale rapidly.

Additionally, there is the speed of searching through data sets since they are available in one place. This way, should there be a need, they can be retrieved for faster insights and results.

At the moment, BigQuery provides data analysis capabilities for leading tech firms like Twitter and UPS. Also, through BigQuery, Google Cloud developers can assess on-chain data from public blockchains, including Litecoin, EOS, and Bitcoin.

IoTeX now joins this elite rank. Their trusted data—including smart contracts activity, Gas, DID, and device data, will now be accessible to developers for exploration.

Consequently, developers will run advanced analytics across multiple blockchains, even tracking the activity of interoperable tokens. This is especially useful in the interoperable IoTeX blockchains, enabling developers to keep track of tokens such as ioBTC and ioETH.

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