Alphabet is the new Google

In case you missed it, yesterday evening Sergey Brin and Larry Page fundamentally changed how one of the world’s biggest companies operates, and in doing so shook up the tech industry. Google is no longer the behemoth it once was; it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of a new holding company called Alphabet. Alphabet will also own Google’s other business ventures such as Calico, Nest and Google X among others which will be separate subsidiaries.

But what does this mean for us, the end user?

At the moment, not that much. Google itself will now be headed up by Sundar Pichai, former head of Android, Chrome, Gmail and Maps is now CEO of a much more slimmed down Google entity. Brin and Page will be in charge of Alphabet as a whole, which will keep trading as GOOG or GOOGL. Google itself will still retain everything customer facing; Search, Ads, Mail, Maps, YouTube, Play Store and Android, etc. Arguably this will allow the new Google to be much more focused on a dedicated set of products which will be designed in much tighter co-operation than before. Getting the full attention of a management team, who are no longer being distracted by some of the ‘Moon Shot’ projects such as Google’s Self-driving cars.

Meanwhile, other projects which to date have added clutter to Google’s growing empire will be spun off as separate companies within Alphabet. While we won’t see much immediate differences, these are the businesses who will more than likely change our daily lives in the years to come. This separation will help give these projects more breathing room; much as they may have cluttered the primary Google business, they were also slowed down by a less focused overall mindset in the company.

Nest, will continue to look at automating our homes and will also include Google Glass in bringing a real connected home to the world without being distracted by the needs of Android or Search. Google X will continue to work on its Life sciences division to keep developing synthetic skin, self-driving cars, Project Wing drone deliveries and early cancer detection. Project Loon will also see a new home here and keep growing.

Many other non-public facing services will also get more dedicated breathing room to grow, as direct mandates are given to Sidewalk Labs to develop better urban environments for all of us, with more green space, less pollution and smarter cities. Calico, Google’s medical arm and Google Geonomics are also set to get a major boost as they can work tirelessly to study and defeat ageing, cure disease and develop the perfect, meatless burger.

Ultimately, most of us won’t see an immediate difference. We’ll still search, read emails, check our phones and find directions in exactly the same way, for now. In a few years however we’ll hopefully see a much more focused version of Android and Search which matches its more slimmed down form by perhaps not giving consumers the current plethora of choice and modification that can lead to some underwhelming results (anyone remember Wave, or Buzz?).

Equally in a few years we’ll see a much more robust Nest, automating our homes with incremental but genuinely clever ideas, Google Glass may also have real world application as a proper wearable, and we could possibly begin living for much, much longer in a world of meatless steaks. It’s a brave new world.

By Aiden O'Brien, Aug 2015