Google has announced that it is to create a new company – called Alphabet – of which Google will in the future be a part. Alphabet is to be managed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, whilst Sundar Pichai will become the new CEO of Google.
Pichai previously served as Google’s Senior VP of Products.
To be clear, Google won’t disappear and hasn’t changed its name. Alphabet acts as a larger parent company of which Google will be the biggest separate company of many.
“Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation – continuing to stretch boundaries,” said Page.
“I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information.”
Search, Chrome, and More Remain
Search, Android, Chrome, YouTube and Maps will remain as Google products, as will Google Photos and Google Now. The move should ensure that the Google itself will be easier to manage as many of the existing services that are staying with the company will be headed up by different CEOs. This should allow for the products to better evolve and expand and for a better focus to be placed on them.
Page went on to say that,
“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.”
So Alphabet is “a collection of companies” with Google being the largest. Other subsidiaries such as Calico (health) will be run independently as separate companies under the Alphabet umbrella. Page continued on to say that the intention is to have a strong CEO running each business, with himself and Brin on hand to ensure that each business is working well.
They will handle all capital allocation and will determine the compensation that is received by the various CEOs. Google financial reports will be provided separately to those of the rest of the Alphabet businesses.
Essentially then, Google has been slimmed down and is ultimately the responsibility of Pichai, who is by all accounts a talented individual who last October took on the responsibility for product and engineering in Google’s Internet businesses.
Four Years in the Making
It’s thought that the idea of creating a parent company was first suggested as long as four years ago. Business Insider reports that whilst Page was initially not keen on the idea, following much discussion he warmed to it. Page has been wanting to get away from the day-to-day running of Google for some time now and the creation of Alphabet, and with it the raft of new CEOs, will allow him to do so.
“Page doesn’t have to come into the office anymore, he doesn’t have to be the tiebreaker anymore, he doesn’t have to show up to events anymore,” a source told Business Insider. “Those were the worst parts of the job for him, he didn’t enjoy it, and now he’s stepping back.”
What About Google+?
G+ has been absent from all discussions on Alphabet that I’ve read so far. This could (to some) signal that the social network is finally to shut down, but Bradley Horowitz – VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing – said last month that we could expect to see “some important changes” taking place over the course of the next few months.
For example, Horowitz said that in coming months we can expect to see additional new features added such as G+ Collections which allows you to share and organise posts around preferred topics. Location sharing will also be added to Hangouts and of course, Photos has already been moved to a standalone app.
The most popular feature (or lack of) that’s been announced with regard to G+ though is that you will no longer have to sign up for the social network in order to use Google products such as YouTube. This will allow users to create private Google accounts that are not searchable, as profiles are.
It’s been suggested that Google are well placed to put in a takeover bid for Twitter in recent weeks, as the micro-blogging share price has improved. However, this is speculation and not based on sound evidence, other than the usual raft of articles predicting the demise of G+.
Hang on, Let me Just Alphabet that …
The iconic Google search page and associated Google Doodles will stay too. Like many people the first thought that popped into my head on hearing the news was something along the lines of “Alphabet it” as of course Google has made its insidious way into language and the everyday terms that we use.
It’s OK though, we can still Google things, ourselves included, if we’re that way inclined.
The changes to Google mean that the guys at the top can focus on new products and innovation in fields such as life sciences and the Internet of Things, to name just a couple. Along with the new CEOs this should mean that we’ll see Alphabet go from strength to strength and Google itself become slimmer with more focus on its core products.
It will be interesting to see how the company shapes up without Page in charge, but given that Pichai has essentially been in charge since October, it’s unlikely we’ll see profound changes that affect search marketing in any way.
It will certainly be interesting to watch how it shapes up though.