As a sign of support for the upcoming Ethereum Merge, tech juggernaut Google is marking the time left until the upgrade with a new countdown timer.
Typing any variation of “Ethereum Merge” or “The Merge” into the search engine shows a countdown ticker, with the estimated time left until the Merge based on the current difficulty, hash rate and merge difficulty.
Off to the side is a cartoon of two happy pandas running toward each other with outstretched hands, which supposedly will get closer as the Merge date draws nearer.
Google Cloud developer Sam Padilla in a Friday tweet said that the timer was “a fun little surprise” and a way to show their appreciation of “the work that has been going into this for years.”
He said the work was done by Google’s search and labs team, but noted that he helped “kickstart” the idea and discussion that led to the timer being implemented.
In the same post, Padilla explained the timer is directly connected to the blockchain, updating the countdown in real-time, stating:
“The underlying data is getting pulled directly from the blockchain via some of the nodes we run.”
He also hinted that pandas get closer as the Merge date approaches, but made a tongue-in-cheek statement, saying: “But you didn’t hear that from me.”
However, Google developers are not the only ones watching the Merge with keen interest.
Recent Google search data has revealed that searches for the term “Ethereum Merge” generated a score above 50 several times over the last 30 days, reaching a peak of 100 on Sept. 3.
A value of 100 is classed as “peak popularity for the term,” while a value of 50 means the term is “half as popular.” A score of 0 means there was not enough data for that day.
Meanwhile, a recent report by CoinGecko found Singapore as the country most interested in the upcoming Ethereum Merge, followed by Switzerland and Canada, Germany, the United States and the Netherlands.
Rankings were determined by analyzing the frequency of ten search terms, including Ethereum Merge,” “ETH Merge” and “Ethereum PoW,” then combining them for the overall ranking.
Yves Guillemot, the CEO of French gaming giant Ubisoft, appears to have cooled the rhetoric behind the company’s nonfungible token (NFT) gaming project Quartz, noting in a recent interview that it was merely in “research mode” concerning Web3 tech integrations.
It’s a relatively different take from other Ubisoft execs in the past, including chief financial officer Frédérick Duguet who in October stated that blockchain integrations will enable users to own and earn content and the firm wants to “be one of the key players here.”
During a Saturday interview with gamesindustry.biz, Guillemot appears to be walking some of those comments back, emphasizing that at this stage, Ubisoft is primarily looking to discover how NFTs can be applied to games and whether they will benefit gamers or not.
“We are very much on cloud, on the new generation of voxels, and we’re looking at all the Web3 capabilities. We tested a few things recently that are giving us more information on how it can be used and what we should do in the universe of video games,” he said, adding that:
“So we are testing ground with some games, and we’ll see if they really answer the players’ needs. But we are still in research mode, I would say.”
Ubisoft announced its first foray into NFTs in December after launching a beta version of Ubisoft Quartz, aimed at offering gamers playable NFTs that could be utilized in games such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.
The move was met with strong pushback from some members of the NFT-hating gamer community, with some accusing the firm of “milking” every cent possible out of its popular game franchises by introducing NFTs into the mix.
Nicolas Pouard, the vice president at Ubisoft's Strategic Innovations Lab, defended the company’s NFT efforts in January, stating: “I think gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them.”
Reflecting on Ubisoft’s NFT rollout, Guillemot says the firm ultimately didn’t communicate the company’s approach to the project effectively enough.
“We probably were not good at saying we are researching,” he said, adding that “we should have said we were working on it, and when we have something that gives you a real benefit, we'll bring it to you.”
The Ubisoft CEO was also questioned about the environmental impacts of blockchain tech, something which is often highlighted by gamers who generally confuse energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) chains as the industry standard for all projects.
Guillemot noted that while he’s “very cautious” about the environmental impacts of the sector, he’s optimistic that these issues will be ironed out over time:
“Like so many things, at the beginning it’s not as good as it could be, but like other new technologies they will find the right way.”
American teen comedy Mean Girls (2004) may soon be making a Web3 comeback, with recent trademark filings by Paramount Pictures revealing plans to expand the brand into “crypto-collectibles.”
According to tweets shared by licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis, Paramount Pictures filed two trademark applications on Sept. 7 for the early 2000s teen comedy starring former Disney actress Lindsay Lohan.
The trademark applications cover “downloadable multimedia files containing artwork” which are authenticated by nonfungible tokens (NFTs), as well as “downloadable virtual goods” including crypto-collectibles and NFTs.
The application also covers transferring and accessing crypto-collectibles, NFTs, and “application tokens.”
Mean Girls is a 2004 teen comedy film that later developed a significant cult following, spawning countless fan-made memes and reaction GIFs. It’s considered one of the most quotable movies of all time and has even led to a national Mean Girls Day every year on Oct 3.
The application follows only a day after mass media conglomerate Viacom International filed a similar trademark application aimed at expanding The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brand into the virtual world.
The number of companies filing trademarks for crypto-collectibles, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the Metaverse is continuously growing.
Recently, Cointelegraph reported that the number of trademarks filed in the Web3 space was on course to surpass that of 2021, as more companies are expected to join in the rush to secure a piece of the web3 pie.
Data published by Dune Analytics report that high-profile brands such as Nike, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Adidas, and Tiffany & Co. have already amassed a combined $260 million from sales of NFTs, making the adoption of NFTs a highly lucrative and profitable addition to existing brands looking to expand into Web 3.
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