The ABCs of Alphabet, Google’s new parent company

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In what could be one of the biggest business moves in recent history, Google announced on August 10 that it is rebranding itself as Alphabet. If some industry observers deemed the creation of the new holding company a radical move by the technology giant, others believed this innovation is exactly what Google is known for. As Google co-founder Larry Page stressed in the blog post “G is for Google”, the company has “always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.” Something he and Sergey Brin made clear early on in their founders letter 11 years ago, “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.”

The restructuring puts Alphabet as a holding company whose largest asset is the search firm Google. Serving as Alphabet’s CEO is Page, with Brin as president. Completing the ruling triumvirate is Eric Schmidt, who assumes the executive chairmanship post.

Google meanwhile will be headed by Sundar Pichai, who has been running most of the company’s major businesses since October of last year. Pichai, who has been with Google since 2004 and has been credited for pitching the idea of the company creating its own browser, will now be overseeing search, advertising, maps, the video service YouTube, and the mobile operating system Android. As Page wrote in the blog post, he is confident that “Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries.”

Other companies under Alphabet’s portfolio include:

• Calico, an anti-aging biotech company
• Sidewalk, a company focused on smart cities
• Nest, a developer of Internet-connected devices for the home
• Fiber, high-speed Internet service provider
• Investment arms Google Ventures (focus on venture capital) and Google Capital (zeroes in on private equity deals)
• Incubator projects such as Google X, which is working on self-driving cars and delivery drones

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The restructuring comes at a time of immense pressure on companies, even high-flying ones like Google, to continue innovating while delivering short-term results. And Google responded in a way that may seem “crazy”, but is really an accurate demonstration of the company’s culture. “We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time,” wrote Page. “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.” Only revolutionary ideas from a certified trailblazer.

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