How employees reacted to Google’s sudden restructuring

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 11, 2015 16:19 IST

Google Inc is now Alphabet Inc. Google as we knew it is now just a subsidiary of a larger parent company with India-born Sundar Pichai as its CEO.

The news, which broke in the middle of the night in India, took everyone by surprise – including Google’s employees, who are still trying to make sense of what just hit them.

“The office is going crazy right now! Productivity just dropped to zero. LOL,” Andre Tacuyan, a product designer at Google, wrote on Quora.

“There I was, sitting at my desk, coding away. Then I saw the announcement spammed on my Facebook feed…it must be a joke, right? But I checked my mail – nope, an email from Larry (Page), and another one from Sundar. What exciting news!” wrote intern Shine Wang.

Here’s what Google employees think of the out-of-the-blue restructuring, according to Quora.

Jack Rae, Research engineer at Google (Alphabet?) DeepMind

So it’s a pretty weird feeling right now because I don’t actually know which company I belong to. I guess it will be Alphabet, but I’m not sure. I left DeepMind this evening and didn’t take my work laptop home, so I cannot load up my work emails and check.

Nevertheless, aside from feeling a bit of surprise — I’m really excited. People can dive into the analysis way better than I, but to me this transition just makes sense. As of today, I have been a Google employee for 365 days and during this first year have felt less part of a company but more so part of a conglomerate of tech start-ups and initiatives that use common internal infrastructure and run by common values. So whilst I was reading the news on my phone, sitting in a restaurant, it really felt like a sense of identity was being restored.

Jeremy Hoffman, Google software engineer (search quality)

I was surprised, but now that I’ve had a few hours to think about it, I’m not surprised. I think this makes a lot of sense. Google can continue to be the company whose mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” without feeling like it needs to add an addendum: “also robots, and medical devices, and home appliances.”

I don’t know yet how this collection of companies will actually work in practice, but I’m unreservedly optimistic.

Kartik Ayyar, Google Engineer

Speaking for myself, and not officially on behalf of my employer, I think it’s a great move.

Different problems sometimes require a different mindset and different subculture to solve well. Ambitious leaders like Larry and Sergey are what inspire many of us, and I for one am hopeful that the new structure means more problems in the world can be solved.

Thomas Wong, Associate Account Strategist

I don’t think anyone at Google can say there was a universal single residual feeling. Because as everyone in this thread has described, it took us all by surprise.

Looking at where the company is today, I can definitely say the move makes sense. In fact, there were hints along the way. Sundar taking over most of Google’s core operations months ago. Google branching out into everything future-oriented for years.

Igor Markov, Google UX designer

For an hour or so, productivity dropped to zero here in Search, with engineers discussing the history of reorgs at Google and how a reorg can increase the value of a company. With no ambiguity as to where Search will be, we checked GOOG and GOOGL — the stock was up 5% after market (now >6%). Cool! Back to work :)

Head over to Quora to read more responses.

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