Google restructures under new name: Alphabet

No immediate changes expected in company's presence in Mountain View

Google announced a major shakeup this week as company founders announced the creation of a new overarching firm called Alphabet Inc. to oversee and manage the Mountain View tech company's various ventures.

As part of the change, longtime Google CEO Larry Page said he would hand over the reins of the company's mainstay search-engine division to the company's product chief, Sundar Pichai. Meanwhile, Page and co-founder Sergey Brin are becoming the new CEO and president at Alphabet.

Explaining the change in a company blog post Monday, Page said the new company was created to improve transparency and control over the company's diverse business ventures. Google, which started in 1998 with a newfangled web search algorithm, is today considered a leader in dozens of different fields, including self-driving cars, drone package delivery and anti-aging research.

In Mountain View, the announcement came as big, albeit cryptic news. With more than 11,000 employees in town and plans to hire many more in near future, Google plays a significant role in nearly all aspects of city management. A Google spokesperson said the company has no plans to leave Mountain View, and it would continue to grow its operations here.

City leaders say they learned of the company's plans on Monday just like everyone else. It doesn't look like the news signals any change for the company's relationship with Mountain View, said Councilman Mike Kasperzak.

"The obvious questions here is, does this have any implications on the day-to-day realities of Mountain View," he said. "My supposition is that it does not."

In his post, Page explained that restructuring the company would provide better management scale by running unrelated projects independently. Each mini-company underneath Alphabet would have its own CEO and leadership organization.

Meanwhile Alphabet is remarkably lean, with just four employees based out of Google's Mountain View offices. Google officials pointed to Warren Buffett's firm Berkshire Hathaway as another example of a skeletal company that nonetheless controls enormous capital clout.

For now, company officials said the Google arm of the company would be "slimmed down", but would still include the search engine, advertising, maps, apps and Android smartphone divisions. Other Google ventures would be restructured directly under Alphabet, such as home automation (Nest), biotech (Calico) and urban planning (Sidewalk).

"For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google — the birth of Alphabet," Page wrote.

"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!"

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4 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 11, 2015 at 8:19 pm

I am skeptical of your 11,000 Mountain View Google employment figure. I would double-check that. 55,419 is Google's world wide employee count as of March 31, 2015.

3 people like this
Posted by That's the Best You Could Do?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2015 at 12:46 am

"Alphabet" has got to be the dumbest name for a company ever. Google was cute, Alphabet is stupid.

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2015 at 7:49 am

Alphagoogle, Googlesoup, Googalpha, the possibilities for our lexicon are going to be interesting.

6 people like this
Posted by Grumpy McGrumpus
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2015 at 8:06 am

This is a huge development, and represents a next phase that could potentially change the world in fundamental ways. Thinking of it as an Alphabet, which after all contains all the possibilities for a language rolled into one place, it's actually a pretty apt name.

[Portion removed.]

11 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

"...Page and Brin are making revolutionary changes that will alter the course of history."

No, they're making money. I think they've peaked as innovators and have gone white-box corporate, with a new suitably vanilla name.

15 people like this
Posted by Childish
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

The founders of Google are still not, even in their forties, very mature people. They are fortunate that some of their departments can run themselves.

As they diversify, they may still need some adult supervision. They no longer have Eric Schmidt for that.

2 people like this
Posted by GarySchroeder
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2015 at 4:06 am

SmartGoogle; use competition to get the worker bees to try harder; but, will their consider their sisters competitors an attack ? There is still only ONLY ONE pot of honey.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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