Basically, Google is becoming a company within Alphabet, which is quickly turning into a high-tech holding company equivalent to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
The move represents a major restructuring of the company, the details of which have yet to be revealed. For now, we know the company named Google will contain core businesses, like search, ads, maps and Android. Other businesses, like Nest and Calico (Google’s group trying to overcome death) will be managed separately.
On first blush, the nuttiest thing about the announcement is the enigmatic name (and domain, abc.xyz).
In his news release, cofounder Larry Page gives the reason for the rebrand. Fitting to the occasion, the normally reserved Page opted for not just one, but a pair of exclamation points:
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! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!
The name seems bracingly unrelated to what anything that the company (and now companies) do, aside from the fact that the alphabet represents the entire range of symbols that most of humanity uses to express itself. While it sounded silly the first time you heard it, Google made sense as a name for the company’s ambition: as you’ll recall, a “googol” is a 10 taken to the 100th power, or 10100.
As a word, ‘alphabet’ has cutesy connotations, unlike the dystopia that the word “Google” has come to represent for some people. It’s friendly, it’s elementary, it’s one of the first words that children learn.
But would you want to be driven by an “Alphabet” driverless car?
As expected, Twitter doesn’t:
do you ever alphabet yourself
— Hannah Jewell (@hcjewell) August 10, 2015
ABenghaziCDEFGoogleHIJKLMNoLabelsOPQRSTrumpUVWXYZoo, We Bought One
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) August 10, 2015
Your move, Bing.
— Sam Ro (@bySamRo) August 10, 2015
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