Larry Page’s restructuring plans for Google surprised everyone on Monday — including the company’s employees.
The company that used to be called Google is going to become a holding company called Alphabet. Core businesses like search, ads, maps, YouTube and Android will operate as a smaller entity under that parent called Google.
Other businesses such as Calico, Nest, and Fibre, investing arms Google Ventures and Google Capital, and incubator projects like Google X will be managed separately from the Google business.
According to several comments from the company’s employees on a Quora thread, people working at Google found out about Alphabet at about the same time as the rest of the world. Understandably, productivity apparently dropped to zero. But not for all that long.
“Our intern Hangouts chat exploded,” intern Shine Wang revealed. “Everyone wondered if their conversion offers would indicate which PA-turned-company they would be placed under, whether it might affect the placement of new employees, and so on.”
Another employee, Igor Markov, said: “For an hour or so, productivity dropped to zero here in Search, with engineers discussing the history of reorgs at Google and how a reorg can increase the value of a company. With no ambiguity as to where Search will be, we checked GOOG and GOOGL, and the stock was up 5% after market.”
“Cool! Back to work,” he added.
Jack Rae, a research engineer at Google Deepmind, wasn’t sure which part of Alphabet he’d be working in.
“So it’s a pretty weird feeling right now because I don’t actually know which company I belong to. Maybe DeepMind will be split out to be a company within Alphabet, I’m not sure. I left DeepMind this evening and didn’t take my work laptop home, so I cannot load up my work emails and check. Nevertheless, aside from feeling a bit of surprise, I’m really excited.”
Those employees who were sure they would be part of the new, smaller Google were pleased, but not surprised, that it would be headed by former Chrome and Android head Sundar Pichai.
Another engineer, Kartik Ayyar, wrote: “With regards to Sundar being CEO, some of my coworkers and I went to lunch and were joking about how since the last reorg, Sundar has basically been an excellent CEO of what most folks thought of traditionally as Google.”
After their initial surprise, Googlers were quick to point out that separating what we traditionally think of as Google from its newer businesses made a lot of sense.
Software engineer Jeremy Hoffman wrote: “Google can continue to be the company whose mission is ‘to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ without feeling like it needs to add an addendum — ‘also robots, and medical devices, and home appliances.'”
Deepmind engineer Jack Rae added: “As of today, I have been a Google employee for 365 days. During this first year have felt less so part of a company but more so part of a conglomerate of tech startups and initiatives that use common internal infrastructure and run by common values. So whilst I was reading the news on my phone, sitting in a restaurant, it really felt like a sense of identity was being restored.By making this decentralization explicit, the entities within Alphabet can flourish without the distraction of core business, and Google can slim down and move faster.”
All in all, the handful of employees sharing their thoughts on Quora seem optimistic, if uncertain, about the future of their company, a feeling shared by analysts.
Account strategist Thomas Wong wrote : “I still feel kind of scared, weirdly, but it’s that excited scared. I feel optimistic. I feel like a kid.”