We go by "G" now.
August 10, 2015 3:53 PM   Subscribe

Larry Page announces, in a blog post, a massive restructuring of Google. Google is now a subsidiary of Larry and Sergey Brin's new company "Alphabet", and Sundar Pichai Google's new CEO.
posted by sutt (165 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Makes me think of The Circle by Dave Eggers, which will also be a movie soon.
posted by Tiye at 3:56 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Alphabet Inc., a division of the RAMJAC corporation
posted by thelonius at 3:57 PM on August 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


I bet Page is pissed NASDAQ wouldn't let him convert the stock symbol to something that alphabetically comes before AAPL.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:57 PM on August 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


Google hides ‘Hooli’ Easter Egg inside Alphabet press release for fans of HBO’s Silicon Valley.
posted by mysticreferee at 3:58 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I saw a brief news piece about this at the gym and assumed that they'd changed their name to ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ and I am deeply disappointed to find that this is not in fact what happened.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:00 PM on August 10, 2015 [59 favorites]


What a screw-you to Amazon:

You guys carry everything from A to Z? We're the goddamn alphabet, and now we'll come first in every alphabetically sorted list.
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:01 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


This is a plot to aquire more spacecraft.
posted by clavdivs at 4:03 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, is this a de-emphasizing of the Google brand, as a prediction that it will decrease in value in the coming years? Or is it a way to disassociate some bad-PR business (like military stuff or something) from the flagship Google brand?
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:03 PM on August 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


I saw a brief news piece about this at the gym and assumed that they'd changed their name to ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

That's the most remarkable word I've ever seen.
posted by weston at 4:04 PM on August 10, 2015 [40 favorites]


The stock market upticked pretty big today and googl was down.

How the CIA made google

Why google made the NSA

by Nafeez Ahmed
posted by bukvich at 4:04 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


You guys are ignoring the sweet new website name: abc.xyz
posted by demiurge at 4:04 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


Stoked.
posted by RogerB at 4:05 PM on August 10, 2015


LobsterMitten:

"I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products -- the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands," Page says.
posted by Pendragon at 4:05 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm wondering, is that a way to keep Google from being tainted by the other things, or vice versa?
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:06 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


You guys carry everything from A to Z? We're the goddamn alphabet, and now we'll come first in every alphabetically sorted list.

Thanks to Alphabet, AARP though has bought some prominencey space so they are featured now before Aardvark.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:07 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


You guys are ignoring the sweet new website name: abc.xyz

Too busy figuring out the coded message in "mAp keZs."

it's definitely about Kyrgyz resistance, I think maybe
posted by psoas at 4:09 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The parallel that comes to mind is the EMC Federation, which is four giant tech companies with independent management that trade under the same ticker. They cooperate... to some extent. The stockholders do not like that right now because they would rather invest in the growing businesses (Pivotal) and not in the shrinking ones (EMC^2). But Google will be fine, at least until it encounters serious financial difficulties.
posted by miyabo at 4:10 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought this was a joke.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:11 PM on August 10, 2015 [82 favorites]


The joke is capitalism.
posted by Faux Real at 4:14 PM on August 10, 2015 [110 favorites]


Makes me think of The Circle by Dave Eggers, which will also be a movie soon.

Thanks, I hadn't found myself annoyed by Dave Eggers in, oh, a few years now, and reading the Wikipedia plot summary fixed that right up
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:17 PM on August 10, 2015 [32 favorites]


A is for Antitrust.
posted by guiseroom at 4:17 PM on August 10, 2015 [44 favorites]


Not only will we have one dumb childish logo, we will have...26!
posted by Existential Dread at 4:18 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was under the impression that Google was just a giant ad company with some other stuff on the side. Are these new companies going to continue to be funded by Google's ad stuff, as everything else always has been?
posted by teponaztli at 4:19 PM on August 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


The stock market upticked pretty big today and googl was down.

GOOG was up ~ 5% after hours when this announcement came out.
posted by GuyZero at 4:20 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought this was a joke.

I would've thought so too if the Verge story I read hadn't included a link to an actual SEC filing.
posted by sparkletone at 4:22 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


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!

Who writes this shit?


I bet Page is pissed NASDAQ wouldn't let him convert the stock symbol to something that alphabetically comes before AAPL.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALPHABET?

I mean, yeah, Nasdaq would have to rebuild its entire back end to accommodate tickers of this length, but hey.

It also means you'd have to wait longer while watching a scrolling ticker to get to an Apple quote.

Disruption FTW!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:22 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


A is for Antitrust

Really, it needs to be done in full Gashlycrumb fashion.

A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.
posted by RogerB at 4:23 PM on August 10, 2015 [239 favorites]


mandolin conspiracy: "I mean, yeah, Nasdaq would have to rebuild its entire back end to accommodate tickers of this length, but hey."

Google could probably do that for them.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:28 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


If they were really serious about shaking things up, their new address would be http://xyz.pdq
posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:32 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


I thought this was a joke too, Joe in Australia -- and I still do, but I'm not laughing anymore.
posted by jamjam at 4:32 PM on August 10, 2015


I was amused that abc.wtf redirects to Bing...

But I think this is probably a way to restructure business units so that employees have a chance at a big payoff. I've got a couple of friends who work for Google, and talked with one this weekend who's considering a job there, and the compensation is good but they talk about it as steady work.

This is a way to have people get excited about building something themselves, to be a part of smaller companies, and not just feel like they're punching a clock at a big company.
posted by straw at 4:33 PM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Who writes this shit?

People who work for corporations and politicians. A is for absurd after all.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a company called:

_000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000​00000000000000000000000000000000000​00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000​000000000000111111111111111111111111111​111111111111111111111111111111111111111​11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111​111111111111111AAAAAAA​AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA​AAAAAAAAAAAA.... etc.
posted by juiceCake at 4:33 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is pretty much making formal the status quo. According to my friends still at Google, Larry checked out of most Google-related management awhile back. His heart's in new things. Sergey formally did the same a few years ago with Google X. And Sundar has been acting CEO for 18+ months now. So maybe not a big day to day change, although clarifying it and reorganizing the subsidiaries will certainly bring clearer focus.

Sundar's the guy back in 2011 that Google was rumored to pay a $50M retention bonus to stop him leaving for Twitter. $50M. Guess that worked out for Google?
posted by Nelson at 4:35 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


So is this a sort of umbrella of evil?
posted by howfar at 4:36 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Alphabet Corporation is the new indie Resident Evil demake directed by Hideo Kojima.
posted by selfnoise at 4:41 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


So, is this a de-emphasizing of the Google brand, as a prediction that it will decrease in value in the coming years? Or is it a way to disassociate some bad-PR business (like military stuff or something) from the flagship Google brand?

The entity that was known as "Google" was massive, with a bunch of product lines. This re-org (theoretically, anyway) makes it a bit easier to manage, I would guess.

I'm not sure what the big deal is. I'm actually more excited that Google Mapmaker is available once again. And that Panoramio is still a Thing.
posted by Nevin at 4:41 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is anyone else as creeped out about a company named "Alphabet" with a subsidiary working on extending human lifespans as I am?

Also, how soon before they get sued by the Alphabet Business Concern?
posted by SansPoint at 4:43 PM on August 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


OK I'm ready, pull the other one.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:43 PM on August 10, 2015


I get the sense that this may be a way to let Larry and Sergey go build whatever they want and let Google just do a good job of being Google instead of being constantly thrown into disarray by random pet projects *cough* g+ *cough*
posted by phooky at 4:46 PM on August 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


When I first heard about the .xyz top-level domain, the first thing I thought was "I wonder who'll be first to jump in and get abc.xyz?" Should've been obvious.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:47 PM on August 10, 2015


was under the impression that Google was just a giant ad company with some other stuff on the side. Are these new companies going to continue to be funded by Google's ad stuff, as everything else always has been?

No change. It might have some corporate structure implications. It's kinda sort of Berkshire-y although notably he just buys operating businesses instead of building then. I'm quite interested to see what sort of granularity they give on the non-ad revenue businesses, which are basically a big pile of moonshots.
posted by JPD at 4:48 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


a b c
It's easy as, x y z
As simple as, do re mi
a b c . x y z
Baby, you and me girl
posted by Kabanos at 4:49 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Who cares about a "Silicon Valley" easter egg? I'd want a "Mr. Robot" Easter Egg, where one of the alphabet blocks is a capital E tilted just like the Evil Corp logo.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:54 PM on August 10, 2015 [14 favorites]


People who work for corporations and politicians.

Yeah, I know. I do it for a living. Every day I hold the beating heart of the beast in my hands. Should have clarified that it was a rhetorical question.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:55 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Was the name "Everything" already taken?
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:58 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


One more thought: how will this affect Google's "20% Time" policy? Will employees now be limited to doing creative side-projects that would fall into the Google Division? Or could Google accountants pass on some employee expenses to other divisions, even not-yet-existing divisions? I once thought being a Google accountant might be fun - now I'm not so sure.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:01 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Alphabet+ anyone?
posted by vac2003 at 5:07 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess "Topside" was already taken...
posted by en forme de poire at 5:10 PM on August 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


One more thought: how will this affect Google's "20% Time" policy
Hasn't that been actually or at least practically dead for years?
posted by wotsac at 5:14 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised they didn't go for 'Umbrella Corp'.

Or 'Skynet'. I mean, they already have the killer robot division, and the machine intelligence division. And the drone program.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:18 PM on August 10, 2015




> One more thought: how will this affect Google's "20% Time" policy?

As it's been described to me, the 20% time policy only covers staff in certain categories, and doesn't include contractors. And for the staff in many departments, they're are entitled to their 20% time as long as it doesn't interfere with their existing obligations or time they would rather waste on things like sleeping or personal hygiene.
posted by at by at 5:21 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the timing has anything to do with Google suddenly losing a lot of search market share thanks to Windows 10 putting the Bing search bar on the desktop in a free upgrade download, and with news of Apple making plans to roll out their own search engine on phones. Perhaps they don't want their main stock pegged to losing name.
posted by Brian B. at 5:21 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is "R" for "Reader"? Perty please?
posted by obfuscation at 5:22 PM on August 10, 2015 [14 favorites]


> You guys are ignoring the sweet new website name: abc.xyz

Good luck buying shit with email@abc.xyz-- tiny companies Comcast and Sprint have no IT budgets to update their verifiers for new TLDs. They don't accept .wtf!
posted by morganw at 5:26 PM on August 10, 2015


T is for Tessier-Ashpool...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:27 PM on August 10, 2015 [24 favorites]


Good luck buying shit with email@abc.xyz-- tiny companies Comcast and Sprint have no IT budgets to update their verifiers for new TLDs. They don't accept .wtf!

Something tells me they'll figure it out right quick now that one of the largest companies in the world is using one.
posted by Inkoate at 5:28 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Alphabet: A fully-owned subsidiary of the Sheinhardt Wig Company
posted by schmod at 5:35 PM on August 10, 2015 [28 favorites]


Somewhere, Sue Grafton is probably thinking, "O rly?"
posted by fuse theorem at 5:37 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Who cares about a "Silicon Valley" easter egg? I'd want a "Mr. Robot" Easter Egg, where one of the alphabet blocks is a capital E tilted just like the Evil Corp logo.

But it already is... I've said too much, were's my morphine?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:37 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


What a simplistic ownership structure. Obfuscate your conglomerate, guys: "GE owns KitchenAll of Colorado, which in turn owns JMI of Stamford which is a majority shareholder of Pokerfastlane.com which recently acquired the Sheinhardt Wig Company which owns NBC outright. NBC owns Winnipeg Iron Works which owns the AHP Chanagi Party Meats company of Pyongyang, North Korea, and they will make the Meat Machine."
posted by morganw at 5:41 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


So, is this a de-emphasizing of the Google brand, as a prediction that it will decrease in value in the coming years? Or is it a way to disassociate some bad-PR business (like military stuff or something) from the flagship Google brand?

The three most plausible motivations I've heard are:

1. It makes it simpler for google to buy companies and spin others off, similar to Berkshire Hathaway.
2. It frees up the Google CEO spot for someone who cares about Google and not space balloons or augmented reality headsets.
3. It may help their case in European Antitrust situations by providing a legal framework for a newly formed Google EU to manage European intrigues without adversely impacting unrelated business units. And it probably helps them argue against 'your company is too big' if the balance sheet shows they're smaller.
posted by pwnguin at 5:43 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


This is partly a consumer branding exercise - Google as a brand covers too many things already, and it was becoming difficult to launch significantly different products under the core brand (e.g. if the life extension stuff becomes reality, who the heck wants to be taking a daily Google pill?)

It's also partly a financial exercise. Google will have clear and separate reporting, risk statements, etc from Alphabet, which will make investors feel better about the impact of more speculative ventures on the actual profit-making side of things.
posted by xthlc at 5:45 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Good luck buying shit with email@abc.xyz-- tiny companies Comcast and Sprint have no IT budgets to update their verifiers for new TLDs. They don't accept .wtf!

IMO, if your business partner is using a Comcast or Sprint email address, you should get a new partner anyway.
posted by pwnguin at 5:45 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Alphabet? Really? A bajillion dollar corporation and that's the best the marketing droids could muster? Was Ohfuckit taken?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:45 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


no, fearfulsymmetry, that's a lower-case 'e' in the blocks...
but if you look REAL close, you might see Christian Slater peeking from behind the "z" and "x" block
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:45 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Would be interesting to be the guy who has the @alphabet handle on Twitter today.
posted by chococat at 5:51 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm not really sure why this has caused so much interest. Huge companies pull stuff like this all the time. If they'd called it "Google Holding Corporation" or whatever no-one would have cared.

It's shuffling around for internal/financial/managerial reasons that will have no effect on the average consumer.
posted by markr at 5:54 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's a big deal because the idea of an entity called "Google" controlling every aspect of reality in the grim, BigDog-patrolled year of 2025 A.D. is too stupid to take seriously, but Alphabet is a pitch-perfect combination of bland and sinister
posted by theodolite at 5:59 PM on August 10, 2015 [56 favorites]


Wonder who's getting laid off.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:01 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I first noticed the .xyz tld I thought it would be quite amusing to get something that you could turn into abc@lmnop.xyz.
posted by Nosmot at 6:02 PM on August 10, 2015


G is for Google smothered under a rug.
posted by cazoo at 6:05 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


psoas: "You guys are ignoring the sweet new website name: abc.xyz

Too busy figuring out the coded message in "mAp keZs."

it's definitely about Kyrgyz resistance, I think maybe
"

It's Mad Sekz.
posted by symbioid at 6:07 PM on August 10, 2015


One more thought: how will this affect Google's "20% Time" policy
Hasn't that been actually or at least practically dead for years?


As a Google employee working on his, now, third 20% project - during my working hours, with my manager's blessing - it never ceases to amuse me that this canard won't die.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:12 PM on August 10, 2015 [22 favorites]


Hey, why is my Google Calendar set to April 1?
posted by duffell at 6:13 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


They really should have gone with Blue Sun.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:13 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sundar's the guy back in 2011 that Google was rumored to pay a $50M retention bonus to stop him leaving for Twitter. $50M. Guess that worked out for Google?

Jesus, that's mind boggling.
posted by DigDoug at 6:20 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not really sure why this has caused so much interest. Huge companies pull stuff like this all the time. If they'd called it "Google Holding Corporation" or whatever no-one would have cared.

It's shuffling around for internal/financial/managerial reasons that will have no effect on the average consumer.


Well, they also appointed a new person to be the CEO of Google. Pretty sure Metafilter has covered CEO changes in both Apple and Microsoft, so there's reasonable precedent.
posted by pwnguin at 6:22 PM on August 10, 2015


I am surprised that Android stays inside the main Google corp. I think it would of made more sense to break it out. The portfolio of things under Google seems oversized when compared to the other divisions.
posted by humanfont at 6:31 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be honest, Google is probably watching Apple strangle itself by transforming into a media conglomerate, making the exact same mistakes that buried Sony years earlier.

As things stand, with growing consumer doubts about "over-coupling" of services, Google stands to benefit from a slight decentralization of its business units.
posted by schmod at 6:35 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Google can call itself Xyzzy for all I care if they get around to installing Xyzzy Fiber to my place of residence.
posted by Justinian at 6:37 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Serie Brin has followed you on Google.
Marque Sean has followed you on Google.
Danyeo Pitoque has followed you on Google.
Poalo Frank has followed you on Google.
Dorkey Dumque has followed you on Google.

That is all of what I have gotten out of Google Plus. Having to block these spam accounts every day.

As well as them getting rid of Picasa. Die a thousand hells, Google.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:39 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


That is all of what I have gotten out of Google Plus. Having to block these spam accounts every day.

How quickly people forget - MySpace Tom anyone?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:41 PM on August 10, 2015


It's pronounced "ex why ZED".

I don't care what it's creators say
posted by Kabanos at 6:48 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


"hmm, I forget, what's the capital of Nebraska again"

*sigh*
"ok, since your too lazy to look it up yourself, let me just go ahead and NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI that for you"
posted by idiopath at 6:51 PM on August 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


Alphabet? Really? A bajillion dollar corporation and that's the best the marketing droids could muster? Was Ohfuckit taken?

There's no need to insult marketing people. Alphabet is a holding company. Holding companies are not consumer facing brands. They often have names like 'ABC Financial Group' or 'XYZ Holdings'. They aren't about marketing.
posted by Winnemac at 6:55 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I really appreciate that Google's new umbrella company's name is more or less ungoogleable. Shouldn't they be SEO experts, of all people?
posted by naju at 6:59 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


I never went onto MySpace. I was an AOL user. What's your point?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:00 PM on August 10, 2015


If Alphabet owns Google, they'll figure out a way to make Alphabet more Googleable. It's the only company with any damn leverage.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:06 PM on August 10, 2015


Being at the bottom of the list won't hold back Weiland-Yutani.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:09 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


You're out of the woods then.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:11 PM on August 10, 2015


Selfishly, I really hope this means that they will now have the bandwidth to advance (my) top priorities; namely, Bringing Reader Back and Finally Making More Cute Themes.
posted by delight at 7:11 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


What happens when everyone hates this and just keeps calling it Google? The only people for whom this really matters are the financial people, and the ticker symbols aren't changing.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:15 PM on August 10, 2015


Be worried about Larry Page's current pet project: F is for flesh eating mind worms.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:16 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I have been into computers since oh, DOS commands. And before that, it was, oh, typewriters! Oh My! Google only exists to sell us stuff and I'm sorry if I am cynical. But jesus, fucking. christ. No one ever tried to sell me something when I was TYPING A LETTER.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:19 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


You may not realize it but you probably already know and use the Alphabet.
posted by srboisvert at 7:30 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


There's no need to insult marketing people. Alphabet is a holding company. Holding companies are not consumer facing brands. They often have names like 'ABC Financial Group' or 'XYZ Holdings'. They aren't about marketing.

Marketing people seem to perceive it as about marketing:
As for the Alphabet name?

“It’s very powerful in its simplicity,” said Allen Adamson, North American chairman of Landor Associates, a major branding identity firm. “And it relates to Google’s mission. They’re going to have a collection of companies, just like an alphabet has a collection of letters.”
(Note that his explanation would also work for a name like "Scrapbook" or "Shitpile".)
posted by ignignokt at 7:30 PM on August 10, 2015 [15 favorites]


Shouldn't they be SEO experts, of all people?

Didn't they recently just post ad for an SEO?
posted by srboisvert at 7:31 PM on August 10, 2015


So does this reconcile Don't be evil or enable being evil? Probably both.
posted by furtive at 7:44 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Makes me think of The Circle by Dave Eggers, which will also be a movie soon.

Seriously, if you are thinking of reading this book, DO NOT. It is shitty, like bad, bad shitty. You will hate it. It pretty much ruined my life for a week or two.

Also, I cannot believe I have not yet seen the word ANTITRUST anywhere in this post. What gives, folks?

The joke is capitalism.

Winner.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:59 PM on August 10, 2015


Daring Fireball is on fire:
Alphabet starts as a Google subsidiary, then they make a subsidiary of Alphabet, then that subsidiary of Alphabet will “merge with and into Google”, and then Google will be an Alphabet subsidiary. [...] The logic of a subsidiary of a subsidiary “merging with and into” the parent company, leaving the first subsidiary the new parent, somehow reminds me of the deals I made as a kid playing Monopoly.

Also, Google does not own either alphabet.com or @alphabet on Twitter.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:00 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oops. Sorry. Apparently my Ctrl-F skills (antitrust) are lacking...
posted by mrgrimm at 8:00 PM on August 10, 2015


Ha! alphabet.com seems to be bogged down.
posted by numaner at 8:06 PM on August 10, 2015


So does this reconcile Don't be evil or enable being evil?
Obviously it allows Google to return to its original "Don't Be Evil" mission while spinning off anything Potentially Evil into another Alphabet subsidiary. (Or at least that's what watching "Mr. Robot" has led me to think)
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:18 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess 'Evil Inc' must have been already taken.
posted by mazola at 8:19 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be honest, Google is probably watching Apple strangle itself by transforming into a media conglomerate, making the exact same mistakes that buried Sony years earlier.

Yep, strangling itself right into a market cap of two thirds of a trillion dollars and a profit of over 10 billion dollars last quarter.
posted by sideshow at 8:19 PM on August 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


bukvich:

That CIA Made Google article is a terrible piece of journalism - trying to condemn a company using 6 degrees of separation - this person connected to this person connected to this person, using a bunch of Google searches to do it (not any original reporting in the piece).

Even more damning, Nafeez Ahmed seriously claimed in the first piece that Google's central technology was Pigeon Rank. He even linked to it.

Then when I called him on it, he changed the piece without noting his MASSIVE error.

I love good journalism too much to let his kind of crap pass for the real thing.
posted by arnoldsnarb at 8:27 PM on August 10, 2015 [20 favorites]


just sayin'
posted by Sys Rq at 8:43 PM on August 10, 2015


I wonder what devious regulatory or tax doge this sets up for them.
posted by humanfont at 9:09 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder what devious regulatory or tax doge this sets up for them.
wow
    such filings
so 10-Q
       wow
posted by Justinian at 9:15 PM on August 10, 2015 [69 favorites]


I really appreciate that Google's new umbrella company's name is more or less ungoogleable. Shouldn't they be SEO experts, of all people?

Do they particularly want people googling the name of their holding company? Like, right now it's not any dirtier than Google and there's nothing else there to harm, but who knows what will happen with things under the Alphabet umbrella in the future. "More or less ungoogleable" may actually have been a mark in this name's favor.
posted by IAmUnaware at 9:36 PM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


The domain squatting has already begun.
posted by mecran01 at 9:42 PM on August 10, 2015


Being a massive holding company has worked out pretty well for Warren so far.

As for Google worried about losing search? They're still incredibly dominant in search, marketing, and advertising, though as Jared Spool points out, you're more likely to be struck by lightning than purposefully clicking on a banner ad.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:43 PM on August 10, 2015


Oops. Sorry. Apparently my Ctrl-F skills (antitrust) are lacking...

Well, there's also Europe:

For Google, this was a nightmare portending years of scrutiny, a fine of up to $6 billion, and edicts that could forever limit the effectiveness of its products. The company must file a response to Vestager’s “statement of objections” by Aug. 17.

In the span of just 15 months, Google somehow lost Europe.


Also, EU privacy regulations are obstructing Google's entry into the enterprise market there.

So, they have to figure this out in a hurry or lose ground quickly. MSFT and GOOG are fighting for market share in enterprise cloud solutions.

But that's where the future revenue lies:

you're more likely to be struck by lightning than purposefully clicking on a banner ad.

Yep, so you need to sell the cloud to businesses. And fight with AWS and MSFT to do it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:56 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The first round of C&D letters to the nation's kindergartens should be going out just about now.
posted by gingerest at 10:00 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Just don't get caught being evil.
posted by Redfield at 10:03 PM on August 10, 2015


Makes me think of The Circle by Dave Eggers, which will also be a movie soon.

Seriously, if you are thinking of reading this book, DO NOT. It is shitty, like bad, bad shitty. You will hate it. It pretty much ruined my life for a week or two.


Alternately, go ahead and read the book. You're an adult and can make your own decisions. You might like it, many other people did.
posted by dogwalker at 10:10 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.

E is for Evil, an idea we're trying;
F is for Facebook we're thinking of buying.
G is for Google, who peeks at your mail;
H is for HA HA! Rely on us? Fail.
posted by flabdablet at 10:18 PM on August 10, 2015 [26 favorites]


Alphabet: Building Better Words
posted by a dangerous ruin at 10:37 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hmm, John Small Berries and John Many Jars are on the BOD.
posted by benzenedream at 11:06 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I look forward to mandatory Alphabet+ integration.
posted by modernnomad at 11:06 PM on August 10, 2015


Also, I cannot believe I have not yet seen the word ANTITRUST anywhere in this post. What gives, folks?


You might need a better search engine...

edit: as do I...
posted by pwnguin at 11:12 PM on August 10, 2015


"We go by G now..."

Guh!
posted by markkraft at 11:33 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


"B" is for bullshit top-level domains.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:55 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Corporate Anthem Time!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:57 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


So will the non-profit making companies (everything besides Google Search and Adsense) be required to suddenly start making money now? Or do they just get handouts from Alphabets every year?
posted by PenDevil at 1:28 AM on August 11, 2015


So will the non-profit making companies (everything besides Google Search and Adsense) be required to suddenly start making money now? Or do they just get handouts from Alphabets every year?

A) other things do make profits;
B) Silicon Valley does have a history of venture capital as a Thing. It's not so odd to do it internally on a wholly owned basis;
C) it contains liability and losses, especially since startups can go bankrupt or die without affecting the Google balance sheet.
posted by jaduncan at 2:26 AM on August 11, 2015


The #2 username on my list when I was choosing this one was "SEO Speedwagon".

I nominate we set up an account with this name and donate it to Larry to hold the 'S' spot in his "Alphabet".
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:58 AM on August 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


LobsterMitten: "So, is this a de-emphasizing of the Google brand, as a prediction that it will decrease in value in the coming years? Or is it a way to disassociate some bad-PR business (like military stuff or something) from the flagship Google brand?"

The most compelling rationale I've seen is that this gives Alphabet more freedom to acquire companies that might not want to be part of the Google monolith. Until Nest, pretty much every company Google acquired was absorbed into the greater whole (sometimes as a mostly-stand-alone division like Android, sometimes combined with an existing project like Quickoffice and Waze).

Nest, though, has stayed independent (in fact, I don't recall even seeing any Google logos on ads). And it's easy to wonder how much of the Oculus, Snapchat, and Twitch negotiations (all of which Google was rumored to be heavily in, but ultimately failed) hinged on the same thing.

(Disclaimer: I am a Google employee, and now I guess I'm also an Alphabet employee, but the above is not based on any insider knowledge, only on spending too much time reading tech blogs/tweets last night.)

oceanjesse: "If Alphabet owns Google, they'll figure out a way to make Alphabet more Googleable. "

Step 1) Get everyone on the whole internet to link to abc.xyz while using the words "Alphabet" and "Google".
Step 2) There is no step 2, that is the way PageRank works.
posted by Plutor at 5:18 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.

E is for Evil, an idea we're trying;
F is for Facebook we're thinking of buying.
G is for Google, who peeks at your mail;
H is for HA HA! Rely on us? Fail.


I is for Internet, what we've got cornered.
J's for 'Just doing what the NSA ordered'.
K is for Keyhole, (cause looking 's our hobby).
L's for the Lava Lamps littering our lobby.
posted by rongorongo at 5:41 AM on August 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.

E is for Evil, an idea we're trying;
F is for Facebook we're thinking of buying.
G is for Google, who peeks at your mail;
H is for HA HA! Rely on us? Fail.

I is for Internet, what we've got cornered.
J's for 'Just doing what the NSA ordered'.
K is for Keyhole, (cause looking 's our hobby).
L's for the Lava Lamps littering our lobby.


M is for Mining, your data all day!
N is for Nothing, that gets in our way.
O is for Obscene, all the money we make;
P is for Privacy, what you've got at stake.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:35 AM on August 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.

E is for Evil, an idea we're trying;
F is for Facebook we're thinking of buying.
G is for Google, who peeks at your mail;
H is for HA HA! Rely on us? Fail.

I is for Internet, what we've got cornered.
J's for 'Just doing what the NSA ordered'.
K is for Keyhole, (cause looking 's our hobby).
L's for the Lava Lamps littering our lobby.

M is for Mining, your data all day!
N is for Nothing, that gets in our way.
O is for Obscene, all the money we make;
P is for Privacy, what you've got at stake.


Q is for Qualms, which we've long since dispensed.
R is for Robots, those we build for Defense!
S is for Snooping, which won't go away.
T is for Taxes, you think that we pay?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:49 AM on August 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't really understand the accusations of antitrust. Is there actually any basis for that?

I seriously don't get the Google-hate that so many here seem to have. I trust them a great deal more than any of the other big tech players right now, and AlphaGoogle's decentralization sounds like it will likely be a win for consumers.
posted by schmod at 7:06 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


But you know the hate exists and now it can be diffused over 26 letters.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:14 AM on August 11, 2015


Sop can anybody tell me what letter Google's water fluoridation is under? Is it F or W? My vital bodily fluids need to know.
posted by happyroach at 7:30 AM on August 11, 2015


That's the most remarkable word I've ever seen.

Wow, check out Susan's 'do. Hot.
posted by Melismata at 7:35 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


*waits for the completion of the new alphabet song*
posted by terrapin at 7:39 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be honest, Google is probably watching Apple strangle itself by transforming into a media conglomerate, making the exact same mistakes that buried Sony years earlier.

As things stand, with growing consumer doubts about "over-coupling" of services, Google stands to benefit from a slight decentralization of its business units.


You all might not remember Sun doing this (decentralizing) some many years back.

Do you remember Sun?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 7:58 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's the bright light in the big room with the blue ceiling right? (It burns us, precious!)
posted by entropicamericana at 8:00 AM on August 11, 2015


A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.

E is for Evil, an idea we're trying;
F is for Facebook we're thinking of buying.
G is for Google, who peeks at your mail;
H is for HA HA! Rely on us? Fail.

I is for Internet, what we've got cornered.
J's for 'Just doing what the NSA ordered'.
K is for Keyhole, (cause looking 's our hobby).
L's for the Lava Lamps littering our lobby.

M is for Mining, your data all day!
N is for Nothing, that gets in our way.
O is for Obscene, all the money we make;
P is for Privacy, what you've got at stake.

Q is for Qualms, which we've long since dispensed.
R is for Robots, those we build for Defense!
S is for Snooping, which won't go away.
T is for Taxes, you think that we pay?


U is for Users, the product we sell.
V is for Viral; in Newspeak, that's swell.
W's for Web, where there's profits galore;
X is its rating (see Rule 34).
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:06 AM on August 11, 2015 [10 favorites]



A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.

E is for Evil, an idea we're trying;
F is for Facebook we're thinking of buying.
G is for Google, who peeks at your mail;
H is for HA HA! Rely on us? Fail.

I is for Internet, what we've got cornered.
J's for 'Just doing what the NSA ordered'.
K is for Keyhole, (cause looking 's our hobby).
L's for the Lava Lamps littering our lobby.

M is for Mining, your data all day!
N is for Nothing, that gets in our way.
O is for Obscene, all the money we make;
P is for Privacy, what you've got at stake.

Q is for Qualms, which we've long since dispensed.
R is for Robots, those we build for Defense!
S is for Snooping, which won't go away.
T is for Taxes, you think that we pay?

U is for Users, the product we sell.
V is for Viral; in Newspeak, that's swell.
W's for Web, where there's profits galore;
X is its rating (see Rule 34).

Y is for Youtube, with royalties we've fought
Z is for Zagat - just one more we bought.
posted by rongorongo at 8:15 AM on August 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


A is for Antitrust, averted once more;
B is for Beta test, never shipped out the door.
C is for Capital, all retained without tax;
D is for Digitize, no more library stacks.

E is for Evil, an idea we're trying;
F is for Facebook we're thinking of buying.
G is for Google, who peeks at your mail;
H is for HA HA! Rely on us? Fail.

I is for Internet, what we've got cornered.
J's for 'Just doing what the NSA ordered'.
K is for Keyhole, (cause looking 's our hobby).
L's for the Lava Lamps littering our lobby.

M is for Mining, your data all day!
N is for Nothing, that gets in our way.
O is for Obscene, all the money we make;
P is for Privacy, what you've got at stake.

Q is for Qualms, which we've long since dispensed.
R is for Robots, those we build for Defense!
S is for Snooping, which won't go away.
T is for Taxes, you think that we pay?

U is for Users, the product we sell.
V is for Viral; in Newspeak, that's swell.
W's for Web, where there's profits galore;
X is its rating (see Rule 34).


Y is for Yahoo; Marissa what have you done?
Z is for Zero, 'cause No Privacy's fun!

FIN
posted by leotrotsky at 8:15 AM on August 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


rongorongo: jinx!
posted by leotrotsky at 8:17 AM on August 11, 2015


NYT: One can only assume that before Larry Page and Sergey Brin chose Alphabet as the name for their new holding company, they Googled it.

If so, they would have discovered that the Internet domain alphabet.com, as well as the trademark Alphabet, already belonged to someone else — namely, the German automaker BMW. And if they had dialed BMW headquarters in Munich, they would have discovered something else: BMW does not want to sell.


Shades of Qwikster.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:27 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


shoulda just called it Alphaville
posted by ghostbikes at 8:30 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Europe Challenges Google, Seeing Violations of Its Antitrust Law

New York Times 15 April 2015
posted by bukvich at 8:33 AM on August 11, 2015


Do you remember Sun?

Wait, that's the company that built the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, right?
posted by GuyZero at 9:10 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do you remember Sun?

I do, as well as SGI. Two companies that got buried by way cheaper hardware then they were selling.
posted by juiceCake at 10:22 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


SGI, that's the company that built the Google campus in Mountain View, right?
posted by Plutor at 10:25 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, I had a couple of Sun SPARC Station pizza boxes, an Ultra, and then I ran Solaris on Intel, so it's not like Sun didn't see the cheaper hardware issue. But their response to it was just an awful confused mess, and we ended up replacing Solaris on Intel with RedHat, and that was that.

I'm not saying that AlphaVille marks the beginning of Google's slide into irrelevance or evil - history rarely repeats exactly, although it rhymes - but I wouldn't be too sad if it was.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:28 AM on August 11, 2015


"Shades of Qwikster."
posted by RedOrGreen

Or Quixtar, even.
posted by symbioid at 10:32 AM on August 11, 2015


Sun didn't understand that it needed to turn into Oracle, not Dell.

HP tried both, and luckily one of the two worked out for them.

Google isn't providing commodity hardware or enterprise consulting services (or, at least, isn't hinging its business on either of those). I don't see the comparison being particularly relevant.

On the other hand, I think that both Google and Apple have been skirting the notion of evolving into media conglomerates. Yes, Apple is wildly, and unbelievably profitable today, but the interests of the media side of their business are definitely at odds with providing a good consumer experience in their other products. In the end, this is going to lead to them making shortsighted decisions that hurt both their business and their products.

Google now runs the risk of competing with itself. I'm not quite sure how that's going to play out, but I think that the individual divisions might end up with a little more liberty to stop worrying about stepping on each others' toes.
posted by schmod at 10:57 AM on August 11, 2015


Also, how soon before they get sued by the Alphabet Business Concern?

I assume because they have all the money and Cardiacs don't it will be the Alpha-googles who will be doing the suing.

Still, it does mean this new company has their own anthem already.
posted by Grangousier at 10:57 AM on August 11, 2015


I don't really understand the accusations of antitrust. Is there actually any basis for that?

Broadly speaking, the question is Google's market dominance and to what extent it uses its outsized marketshare to suppress competition. Google is not stupid and tries to walk this line carefully, but there's cause for concern. Particularly in the web advertising market.

More specifically, there's an ongoing investigation by the European Commission that is serious. The NYT article bukvich linked is a good overview of the current state of things. it's been going on for several years on several different topics. Some (IMHO) are substantive, some are a bit silly. The Economist's coverage is also solid if you want to know more.

There's also been antitrust action against Google in the US. The FTC has claimed victory in the past. Things got interesting recently when an internal FTC document leaked showing the debate inside FTC.

One of the outcomes from that 2013 FTC process directly affected something I worked on, the AdWords API. Google used to prevent anyone from building tools using that API to export a Google ad campaign to a competitor's ad platform. After the FTC action Google opened that up. Soon after Microsoft ads implemented an "import your ad campaign from Google" feature.
posted by Nelson at 10:58 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


But their response to it was just an awful confused mess, and we ended up replacing Solaris on Intel with RedHat, and that was that.

Indeed. Saw this happen quite a lot. It also reminds me of SGI's hilarious Windows NT box response to cheaper but equally if not surpassing NT workstations from other vendors (with the support of Maya as well) being used for 3D work.
posted by juiceCake at 12:21 PM on August 11, 2015


Great analysis by Ben Thompson:

Alphabet’s plan to report Google’s results on a standalone basis will likely reveal that the search-and-advertising company investors have bought stock in is, absent the financial blackhole of Google’s moonshots, doing even better than most suspected. Unfortunately for said investors the additional clarity will only serve to illuminate just how much money is not being returned to shareholders and is instead being spent by Page and Brin on what they think matters. Will investors trust Page to spend it wisely?
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:43 PM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The domain squatting has already begun.

I don't understand this comment. The people who registered the relevant domains have established businesses that run, which bring in revenue and that pay taxes. Is that not the case? Even one of the people whose business will be affected has asked how anyone could possibly sue Google and win over an infringement case — the presumed defendant is simply too big and powerful to possibly lose.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:13 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I seriously don't get the Google-hate that so many here seem to have.

Probably orthogonal to Nelson's comment above, Google seems to be second only to Facebook in wanted to know absolutely everything about you and that's off-putting to some people. (I'd put myself in that category, obviously.) Although, to be fair, Google comes across as something like a slightly pushy acquaintance whereas Facebook feels like a Stephen King character creepily saying "I'm your BIGGEST FAN." You can almost feel the desperation in their pleading, "PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST TELL US WHERE YOU WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL! OR COLLEGE! ANYTHING! WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MUPPET, EVEN?"
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:13 PM on August 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Although Google is always trying to trick you into going out to the log cabin it built for its wife years ago, but which now serves no purpose except as a monument to baffled desire, although to be fair there are some pretty cool D&D rulebooks on the shelves in the guest bedroom.
posted by howfar at 5:22 PM on August 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


You can almost feel the desperation in their pleading

See the thing is, Google already knows all that stuff about you because you not only get facebook on your phone, but every email school reunion notification in your inbox, as well as the fact that you've made 23 searches for Gonzo in the past month as opposed to 3 for that blue patriotic eagle dude.
posted by mcrandello at 8:05 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


HIS NAME IS SAM
posted by psoas at 9:20 AM on August 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


On the one hand I think Ben Thompson may well be right about Larry Page's reasons for doing this, but on the other, I couldn't disagree harder with this bit:
I care about changing the world too, but I tend to think that said change is more often wrought through market mechanisms that reward the productization of audacious R&D.
He goes on to talk about Bell Labs and says sort of dismissively that without Silicon Valley the transistor would never have become widely available -- which is arguable but also exactly misses the point, which is that without the original basic research in the first place there would have been nothing for that proliferation of companies to "productize." Bell Labs was the kind of offshoot that is only really possible when you have a big absurdly wealthy corporation (things like Microsoft Research are great but I don't think they really compare to Bell in its heyday), so perhaps in a perfect world institutions like that wouldn't really exist. But as someone working in the biomedical sciences, I can tell you a lot of sad stories about what happens when you eliminate venues for basic science to be done, and believe me, none of them end up with "market mechanisms... reward[ing] the productization of audacious R&D." That kind of research is too long-term and unpredictable to be incentivized that way. If we want actually revolutionary technology, we have to spend money on basic research, and doing so through the government seems to be increasingly politically infeasible in the USA. So while there are of course still plenty of ways to find fault in Google I find it difficult to fault them for dumping money into research spin-offs, which are at least helping to pick up the slack.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:02 AM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


things like Microsoft Research are great but I don't think they really compare to Bell in its heyday

MSR is sort of infamous for it's lack of productizing research work, unlike Bell's or IBM's research divisions. MSR is a university CS department that happens to live inside Microsoft.

Google's moonshots seem (to me at least) as product companies trying to build products that can't be built yet, in contrast to Bell Labs which was discovering basic building blocks and really fundamental stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 11:08 AM on August 12, 2015


Might be true for the car stuff, but I'd disagree strongly with that characterization with regards to e.g. Calico, which has hired mostly basic scientists for the apparent purposes of doing basic science in a very large and general area.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:57 PM on August 12, 2015


As a Google employee working on his, now, third 20% project - during my working hours, with my manager's blessing - it never ceases to amuse me that this canard won't die.

Project Sunroof - "Project Sunroof is the brainchild of self-described 'solar energy geek' Carl Elkin... He started working on creating a resource as a 20% time project about a year and a half ago... but took on Project Sunroof full-time for the last several months... Watch Google's video here: Introducing Project Sunroof."

also btw...
Boston Dynamics' Atlas Robot Tested Outside[1,2,3]
posted by kliuless at 11:23 PM on August 17, 2015


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