Google is introducing a Blockchain Node Engine for web3 developers, beginning with Ethereum.

In an announcement on Oct. 28, Google said that its fully-managed node engine will minimize the need for node service. Using Google’s node engine, blockchain developers can relay transactions, deploy smart contracts and read or write blockchain data. 

“Ethereum will be the first blockchain supported by Blockchain Node Engine, enabling developers to provision fully managed Ethereum nodes with secure blockchain access,” said Amit Zavery and James Tromans, who lead engineering and web3 respectively at Google.

A blockchain node is an integral component of its infrastructure, forming the basis of decentralized networks. Essentially, a node is a device that runs the underlying blockchain’s software and confirms a series of network transactions called blocks. The group of nodes working together validates and maintains a history of all transactions on the decentralized ledger. 

In order to run a full blockchain node on Ethereum, users have to install an Ethereum client like Geth or Nethermind and wait as long as a few days for the node to sync with the rest of the network. Google claims that it can make this process faster, allowing them to deploy a new node with a single operation on the mainnet or testnet.

These nodes will also be placed behind a Virtual Private Cloud firewall, meaning only trusted machines will be able to communicate with client endpoints and restricting unauthorized access. Google intends to actively monitor nodes and restart them in the case of an outage. 

A point of concern among the community remains that nodes hosted on a large infrastructure provider could threaten the network’s decentralized state. Ethereum developer Péter Szilágyi said that attempts to address these concerns by pruning the network, or reducing its size so that more nodes can be run at home, received significant backlash from the community because of the idea of state rent for storage.

“But until it’s solved, you can’t blame people for not wanting to maintain an ever larger ‘infrastructure’ for running a node,” said Szilágyi in an August tweet.