Over the past few years, Google’s been getting kind of bloated. In addition to its core search business, it has added all sorts of products: Life Sciences, which works on a glucose-sensing contact lens, Calico, that focuses on longevity and Nest, which it acquired to bolster its intelligent home products portfolio.
Google co-founder Larry Page’s announcement on Monday about the tech giant reorganising under a new parent company, Alphabet Inc, appears aimed at separating moneymaking businesses from other ventures that have worried investors while still driving innovation.
As part of the surprise corporate overhaul, India-born Sundar Pichai, the current vice-president who has worked on some of Google’s best-known products, was named the CEO of the search giant.
So, what exactly is Alphabet? And what are the companies under it?
In the words of Page: “Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead.”
Here are the companies that are part of Alphabet:
It will continue to include the search engine, ads, maps, apps, YouTube, the Android system and related technical infrastructure.
Its work includes developing a glucose-sensing contact lens.
It makes internet-connected smart home appliances. Google acquired Nest in 2014.
It is focussed on research aimed at prolonging human life.
It is building high-speed broadband networks in several US cities.
It is the secretive special projects lab responsible for Google's self-driving car venture. It previously developed the controversial internet headset known as Glass and will now focus on new efforts like Project Wing, a drone delivery effort
Alphabet will also oversee Google Ventures and Google Capital, two corporate investment entities that focus on early- and growth-stage start-ups.
Page explained the reorganisation will help in getting more ambitious things done, empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish, and improving the transparency and oversight of what Google is doing.