All Hail Alphabet Overlords, Praise Be To ‘G’

Forbes August 11, 2015 0

Apparently all those years of watching Sesame Street have finally paid off. Alphabet is the new parent company of Google Google and all Google related ventures and the tech universe couldn’t be more giddy


Apparently all those years of watching Sesame Street have finally paid off. Alphabet is the new parent company of Google Google and all Google related ventures and the tech universe couldn’t be more giddy. There was a sense for a while that Google might not be innovating at the speed that we are used to, what with Google Plus fading into MySpace-levels of social network history. The question that everyone is asking now is whether or not Alphabet is going to usher in a new era of Google innovation.

Let us remember that corporate entities restructure and add levels of bureaucracy every year. With the reorganization (‘G’ stands for Google guys, never forget that), Larry Page likens the move to something Warren Buffett would do, invoking Berkshire Hathaway. Whatever that means, it sounds terribly boring. Good thing columnist Christopher Mims of the Wall Street Journal has a Twitter account to explain it to me. “First, everyone has their comparisons wrong, because Page does: Alphabet isn’t anything like Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway. A more apt analogy for what Google apparently wants to become is the Virgin Group, but apparently Page doesn’t know how it works. That is, Alphabet is more accurately a “venture conglomerate” like Virgin Group — that is, creating and investing in new businesses.”

Page has had a history of shuffling the deck at Google as it is. In this age of social media and Google ruling our Internet connected world, we tend not to even bat an eye towards those kinds of changes. Hell, by the time you read this, we won’t even care about the alphabet anymore. I mean the actual alphabet, with the letters. Because Google owns it now. Page is really excited about putting Google under an umbrella company. Though as someone who comes from the corporate universe, I think this seems like a huge dog and pony show for what amounts to Google just enabling tech writers to commission cute infographics outlining what companies fit with what letters.

Google Search Page

New Google Search Page?

Have we really become so blinded by the influence of these tech giants that we can’t see a simple restructuring for what it is? An opportunity for one of the most recognizable brands in history to re-brand. Retail companies do it all the time, as well as Web-ased companies — but Google is Google. How do you re-brand Google? Easy, you slide it next to 25 other companies (hypothetically) and with a little slight of hand, Google becomes part of something even bigger even though there is nothing bigger. Fat guy in a little coat.

Alphabet has nothing to do with us. The users. Nothing at all really. We’ll still type in our weird search phrases and delight every time the Google Doodle celebrates some long dead history person. “Alphabet really will have little effect on users,” agrees marketing manager Michelle Burke of Future Insights. “Instead, Google quickly realized they had to avoid becoming comfortable as a brand and challenging themselves, and industry followers, to growing and expanding.” In a marketing sense, Google has become something of a complacent brand, no matter how innovative their current research appears to be. Regardless, Alphabet was created to put investors at ease and finally have a letter for Google’s genetic domesticated Zebra houseplant project.

The Alphabet move points out that Google is not a search company — it’s a search company that uses those cash flows to lose money elsewhere.

— Alex (@alex) August 10, 2015

Because Google is now part of a larger umbrella, does this mean that they will suddenly become more innovative in the search engine world? Will it finally bury Netscape and Yahoo? Wait, what do you mean Netscape is already dead and gone? No one told my father. Also, how long will it be before Alphabet finds enough companies to fill in the, uh, alphabet? What if Alphabet creates more than 26 companies or projects — or for that matter — with duplicate letters? It already took the alphabet, can it take our numbers too?

I woke up today in a world where Google is now “Alphabet” and I am lost, confused and frightened.

— Alex Fitzpatrick (@AlexJamesFitz) August 11, 2015

Either Google will innovate, or Alphabet will innovate for Google, creating some sort of innovation paradox that will take some getting used to. Even in writing this I found it difficult to not type “Google’s Alphabet”. Aside from innovation, some believe that the Google company motto of “Don’t Be Evil” will really be put to the test as they appear to grow larger and closer to the Skynet of our nightmares. “Alphabet is Google’s first major step towards global control of all data in both the public and private realm,” BSSi2 CIO Nick Espinosa tells me via email. “Their aggregation of data under Google was unprecedented and it will do nothing but grow as they expand into other areas.” We can joke about it all we want, but Alphabet will create a myriad of companies all tied to a central agent — Google — all with the end purpose of either making our lives better, or controlling every aspect of them. It is getting more difficult to discern the difference.

There will no longer be any co-mingling of products, that much we know for certain. Alphabet means “N” is for Nest, “P” is for Pixate and so on. If you own any Google stock, you are probably feeling a bit of a rush right now, but don’t worry — it’ll wear off next time you are touching your nose and reciting the alphabet backwards and you let out a little giggle. No matter what comes next, Google will always be search and Page is yet to reveal what plans he has in store for prime numbers and hieroglyphics.

Article originally posted in Forbes website.