Google? Call me Alphabet

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This past week, Google founder Larry Page announced that Google is now Alphabet. The news was a surprise to the general public and generated robust confusion. I mean, really now – what is Alphabet? Is Google disappearing? And most important, what does this mean for my web browsing?!

Understanding Alphabet begins with a quick trip down memory lane, to 2004 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, wrote Google’s IPO letter. In it, they quoted Warren Buffett, attributed much of the letter’s inspiration to his annual reports, and penned sections on “Long Term Focus,” “Risk vs. Reward in the Long Run,” and “Making the World a Better Place.”

Fast-forward to 2015.

Think of how Google has grown and transformed: it’s a search engine and browser; owner of Android, YouTube, Nest, Google Fiber, and Gmail; and pursues projects like self-driving cars and anti-ageing technology (Calico). These projects and companies, however, have become too diverse to keep within the Google box.

Alphabet is a holding company – the tool shed if you will – in which Google now resides as one of many precise, zealous machines. Different projects that started at Google are now so big, they will have autonomy as their own companies, with their own CEOs, and separate, distinct goals… but all companies will remain associated under Alphabet.


As far as branding, however, Alphabet is receiving mixed reviews. “Google,” as a name, is gold: it’s a word, but not a word; it’s fun, yet serious. And “Alphabet” seems to appropriately convey the concept of creation and language. However, the images of children’s building blocks on the Alphabet webpage can’t help but conjure up thoughts of drooling, non-verbal infants who, while cute, are just not who we’d want associated with a great technological and business endeavor.

Overall, Alphabet is something to be excited about. Journalists and industry experts are comparing Google’s evolution to those of AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, GE, and Bell Labs, each of which instills great hope and awe in what innovations will come.

Here, for your reference, we’ve compiled a quick hit list of some FAQs about Alphabet:

  • Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page are still at the helm with Alphabet, maintaining control of their initial vision
  • Yes, the Google search engine and Gmail will remain as they are
  • No, Alphabet is not a new search engine
  • No, there will not be an Alphabet OS/mobile phone

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