Google has done something that has positively set the world aflame (not really, but I just wanted to say “aflame”), they’ve rebranded under the new company name of Alphabet and Larry Page is the CEO, with Sergey Brin as President. Meanwhile, the Google we know and love remains mostly the same with a few notable differences which I’ll get to in due course.
EDIT! Brought to you courtesy of our beloved Drillpress. TL;DR (Nothing has really changed. - Added by bangishotyou, aka this guy [points thumbs at self]) You can still search for Sailor Moon slash/fic. ;)
Note: I couldn’t find a GIF for that “he’s a flamer” moment in Arrested Development. I did find the one to the left though and it is a great moment as well and thus figured “close enough”.
Before I get into things though, let me share the following, which was written by Larry Page himself, as was taken from Alphabet’s new site (which is abc.xyz)
As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago, “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make “smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.” From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.
We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.
We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.
Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet. I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.
What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.
Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.
This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google. A key part of this is Sundar Pichai. Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation—continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information. Recent launches like Google Photos and Google Now using machine learning are amazing progress. Google also has some services that are run with their own identity, like YouTube. Susan is doing a great job as CEO, running a strong brand and driving incredible growth.
Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort. We are also stoked about growing our investment arms, Ventures and Capital, as part of this new structure.
Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.
For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google—the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products—the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.
We are excited about...
- Getting more ambitious things done.
- Taking the long-term view.
- Empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish.
- Investing at the scale of the opportunities and resources we see.
- Improving the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing.
- Making Google even better through greater focus.
- And hopefully... as a result of all this, improving the lives of as many people as we can.
What could be better? No wonder we are excited to get to work with everyone in the Alphabet family. Don’t worry, we’re still getting used to the name too!
What does all of that mean to you the average person? At the end of the day, pretty much nothing. Almost nothing about the change will genuinely affect you in any significant way.
However, it means quite a bit for the company we used to know as Google and everything which fell under its umbrella.
First off, Google is no longer Google. Google is now Alphabet.
There is, however, still a Google which is itself now a subsidiary of Alphabet. Under Google numerous “products” that we are all mostly familiar with fall: Android, Search, YouTube, Apps, Maps, and Ads.
Everything else though, which you can see in the image above is something that was spun off from Google but still a part of the company and the new change is for the better and I’ll explain why.
A lot of those other items you see above were pretty much side ventures if you will, things that didn’t quite fit in with the core aspects of Google (which you can see listed there and which I listed a few sentences ago) and thus weren’t quite at home in a manner of speaking within the company. That isn’t to say though that they weren’t just as important as the core aspects we’ve known of and whose products we’ve used for years now.
The Life Sciences division, which is not shown in any of the images I’ve found, for example has created a smart contact lens that measures glucose levels. They did it through the use of miniaturized electronics, as scientists had previously spent years investigating how to measure glucose levels through alternative means and had largely found a path of worthwhile pursuit via various bodily fluids and more specifically tears.
Calico, as pictured further above, “aims to devise interventions that slow aging and counteract age-related diseases”. I’m sure some of you are reading that and thinking exactly what I am given our love of all things geeky and thus science fiction related: Longevity. Human longevity and all the things that go with it. Just ponder that for a moment, there is a part of the company formerly known as Google that is working on exactly that.
Then there’s the secretive Google X division, whose Wikipedia entry reads like a who’s who of speculative fiction ideas, and from which numerous items have already born fruition and all of which are coming from the kind of people you’d see mentioned in an Indiana Jones film.
And for the sake of listing a few items here are the ones that we are already familiar with to some degree.
Project Self-Driving Car, which I believe needs no further explanation given its rather obvious name.
Additional videos can be found via this link.
Project Wing, which aims to deliver products across a city by using flying vehicles. Or drones if you’d prefer, although of the friendly not controlled by Skynet (yet!) variety. The project has unfortunately met with some failure, but Google’s way of doing things has long been “let’s try this and if it doesn’t work let’s go back to the drawing board”, and naturally they’re not giving up on it just yet.
Project Glass, which was met with quite a bit of ridicule and hatred due to privacy concerns (mostly from people who did not use Glass, as I was fortunate enough to do for a weekend). It too failed, but Google is definitely at it again with Glass 2.0.
Project Contact Lens, which I previously mentioned.
Project Loon is one I wrote about fairly recently and which is poised to bring internet access to so many people who would otherwise be without it. They’ve gotten to a point where a single balloon can provide internet access to an area the size of Rhode Island while remaining airborne for than six months.
And quite a few other projects, some of which are absolutely amazing in what they aim to do or who they’re aimed at helping.
That’s ignoring the stuff that has been considered and rejected by Google X, which includes a space elevator, a hoverboard, a user-safe jetpack, and last but holy shit not least teleportation. The latter of which was rejected because it “was found to violate the laws of physics”. Let me just state that if there is one amazingly cool reason for not being able to even attempt to do something then “violating the laws of physics” is definitely it.
Seen above is the most hilarious thing I could think of when thinking of teleportation.
Of course all of the examples above could be best explained via the following video and I’m going with this example for a reason I’ll get to a little later.
So I’ve explained quite a bit about Google X and some of the other divisions without explaining much at all about Alphabet.
The point of Alphabet is to turn those not quite Google products (per the original company) into their own divisions with their own heads and to allow Larry Page to take a step back, which he’s been wanting to do for some time now, and focus on other aspects of the company. Namely those items I mentioned a bit further up. Basically, let someone else entirely run Google and focus on the core aspects of Google and free himself up to focus on the bigger picture. “Making the world a better place.” Sorry, couldn’t help but throw that in there.
So who’s going to be in charge of Google now? The natural choice, Sundar Pichai. You might read that and wonder “why is he the natural choice, or better said who is he in the first place?” If you haven’t been keeping up with Google related news or Google IO over the past few years then you’d be forgiven for not being familiar with the name, but until recently he was the Product Chief at Google Inc. and he oversaw a great many aspects of the company.
Sundar did the keynote presentation this year and last year and I believe the year before if I remember correctly, which was also the year when Larry Page was there and spoke as well and was a damn good speech as well!
The Verge a few months back did a great one on one piece with him and I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already. (Fair warning, the link is fine but for some reason it seems to show up kind of weirdly when you actually visit it. It almost looks mobile and slightly fucked up. Not sure what that’s about.) You’ll gain some serious insight into Sundar Pichai, as well as what he envisions for Google.
There’s two quotes from it though worth sharing and which are highly relevant to things as they stand now for both Alphabet and Google.
I want Google to strive to do that — not just build technology for certain segments. For me, it matters that we drive technology as an equalizing force, as an enabler for everyone around the world.
Which is why I do want Google to see, push, and invest more in making sure computing is more accessible, connectivity is more accessible. And going back to our core mission, when we do things like machine learning and assist users, I view that as a huge game changer. Because over time, someone who has [access to] just a smartphone hopefully has...the same [capabilities] as someone who is more privileged. That’s what’s very exciting about what we are doing.
Where we see traction, we will double down. Otherwise, we will course-correct. We will do both. We need to be thoughtful about these things. We do them because we believe that software is at a stage where [it is] increasingly playing a more and more critical role in solving [problems] it didn’t before.
It’s clear to me at least that Sundar is definitely the man who is aiming to make things accessible to as many as possible and as easily as possible.
To that end, here’s a repeat of what Larry Page stated and which I quoted much earlier.
This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google. A key part of this is Sundar Pichai. Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation—continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information.
So yeah, there’s been quite the shakeup at the company formerly known as Google and honestly I see no issues with it at all. It’s actually rather exciting. Google can continue focusing on Google things and meanwhile everything else can continue on as is but under a new bigger company with a focus on keeping everything separate and rightly so.
On top of that, as I mentioned already, Larry Page can now focus on doing the things he really wants to do (which is basically everything but his previous Google related responsibilities) and he can pick top people to run the respective subsidiaries beneath Alphabet.
But I’ve mentioned Silicon Valley several times now and now I owe you an explanation for why I did.
Visiting Alphabet’s page of abc.xyz leads you to where you can see that statement from Larry Page. Visiting the page and inspecting the source code reveals something rather interesting though.
Or put another way, visiting the link for Alphabet and then clicking on more to see the full statement from Larry gives you the opportunity to click on something innocuous which takes you to a much more interesting place.
Seen above is what you specifically want to click on when reading the statement. That specific period. Doing so takes you here. We see what you did there, Google.
Neat, right? I thought that was awesome.
Those self-driving cars that will hopefully one day soon dominate our highways and make all our lives safer and easier, how do the doors on them open?
Because seriously, if this is what we’re getting then I might have to get upset.
I for one look forward to what will come going forward from Alphabet and its various subsidiaries.
And on that note, fair warning to all, this post was written to both explain things and potentially in lieu of tomorrow’s usual Android related weekly post. I may or may not write one. If I don’t then just know Hangouts has been updated at long freaking last with both a proper Material Design implementation and an actual wear app and that’s really all the news worth sharing since last week’s Wednesday Android Update. Oh, that and anyone in the U.S. interested in the Moto X Play, which I wrote about two weeks ago, should know that getting an International version is out as an option because it doesn’t support the needed Bands that the U.S. carriers operate on. However, the Canadian specific version of the devices does support and have those bands in it. So that’s the version you want to get if you don’t want the Moto G or the Moto X Pure Edition.
Beyond that, any Android related questions you might have and which you don’t feel like asking tomorrow assuming I do the weekly post you can more than wait til Sunday to ask. That’s when I’ll be doing my AMA. So expect that to go up after I wake up, which will be sometime after noon CST. (I did not change it per some family related issues that cropped up and will be free after all that day. I may, however, be drunk and thus take my sweet time responding. My birthday is on Monday and I plan to enter the age of thirty intoxicated. Either way should be fun for all of us!)
EDIT. Oh yeah, check out what I saw the other day on reddit.