Google is changing its name to Alphabet – a new holding company with the originally-monikered search engine business Google forming its largest subsidiary.
The changes include a management restructure that sees the core Google search business being headed up by new chief executive and former product chief Sundar Pichai. Pichai replaces Google CEO Larry Page in job title, although Page remains CEO of the overarching holding company.
Founder Sergey Brin becomes Alphabet’s president and Eric Schmidt its executive chairman. Other appointments will be announced in due course, with CEOs appointed for each business within Alphabet, but many of the existing roles will remain unaffected, such as that of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Meanwhile, the company’s new holding company URL symbolises the new name in typically playful Google style (http://abc.xyz).
However, the business stressed that, while clearly a name designed to be all-encompassing, Alphabet would not be a “big consumer brand with related products – the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands”.
The change in name reflects Google’s growing diversity outside its core search business, which has resulted in mobile operating system Android, YouTube, investments in smart tech including driverless cars, and quirky innovations such as makeshift virtual reality Cardboard.
While a “slimmed down” Google remains the largest part of Alphabet, companies “that are pretty far afield of our main internet products” will be contained within Alphabet. These include the likes of Life Sciences, which is working on glucose-sensing contact lenses, and Calico.
In a blogpost entitled ‘G if for Google’ published yesterday, Alphabet CEO Page wrote: “As Sergey [Brin] and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago, ‘Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.’”
Google shareholders will automatically become Alphabet shareholders, while the tech group will introduce segment reporting for its fourth quarter results, “where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole”.
Commenting on Pichai’s rise to the Google CEO role, Page wrote: “Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google.
“I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations.”