Today the news that Google has been adopted by a new parent company, Alphabet, has erupted across the internet. Alphabet is replacing Google as a publicly traded entity. All Google shares will automatically be converted into the same number of shares from Alphabet, with Google becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the new company.
Unsurprisingly, there have already been some skepticism towards the dramatic change, but what are Google’s real motivations behind respelling its future?
For many years now, Google has tried to break out of its information service box Google’s heavy public association has often held it back; when they launched their self-driving car, people immediately asked: “why would a search engine build a car?”
In the announcement released on http://abc.xyz about the Alphabet restructure, Larry Page responds to these questions by saying: “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” The goal of a holding company like Alphabet is to empower the individual business units and maximise their performance. With some of their ventures wandering too far from the traditional Google brand, Page’s idea is that the companies “too far afield of our main internet products [will be] contained in Alphabet instead.”
So asides from nifty autonomous vehicles, what do these more obscure companies entail?
Health care has been picked up by Forbes as a key reason for the change. Andrew Conrad, the leader of Google’s medical pursuits, says that with the invention of Google Glass in hospitals means that: “Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system. That is our dream.” They have also mooted the concept for a pill to detect cancer and want to create contact lenses that can monitor bodily functions, such as blood sugar.
Then there is the new mission of Sidewalk Labs, a so-called “urban innovation company,” that wants to focus on sustainable living by curbing pollution and energy use in cities around the world.
These are the types of projects that Alphabet will now contain and Page will oversee, leaving the normal Google functions to the newly appointed CEO, Sundar Pichai. But what does this mean? Are we losing the Google name? There have already been horrified responses to the idea of having the less catchy “Alphabet it” search term. However, the Google brand is one of the most resonant on the planet, and Page promises that Alphabet will never be a consumer brand. The appointment of Pichai has relieved the fears of some, such as Om Malik, who says that Pichai’s promotion is “Proof nice guys can win.”
The news is fresh and it is too early to tell whether the investment in these other companies and their projects could make the world a better place, or if the restructuring is all a big ruse so that Google may change their old motto: “Don’t be evil” and allow Alphabet to run riot with world domination. We sure hope not!