Alphabet, Google’s holding company
Our infographic shows the make up of Alphabet, Google’s holding company. Among other things, this new entity, formed on 02 October, 2015, provides a useful division of this web giant’s activities which serves to clarify matters for Google executives. It is interesting to note these companies are not all involved in Internet activities!
A colossus with an atypical profile
Google is acknowledged to be one of the “GAFA” (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) giants. But even though this activity is the historical source of colossal revenues, “Alphabet” is far more than just a search engine. A turnover of 75 billion dollars in 2015, a market capitalization beyond the norm, plus a healthy growth forecast. Everything in the world of this giant from Mountain View is going rather well.
Google’s advertising agency AdWords generates the majority of Alphabet revenues. And remember that AdWords allows advertisers to run ads on Google as well as on a few million more sites across the Web, thanks to a large network of partner sites. So, as with other areas of the Web such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, all these platforms are happy to use advertising to monetize their prime position.
As in France and some other countries, Google’s unique position as the top search engine has enabled the company to become the supreme master of small question-and-answer exchanges between the search engine and its users. So for anything from “How to avoid sweating” to “What is the future of our planet?” Google can always supply ready answers, ordered by relevance. Moreover, note that Google CEO Sundar Pichai has also said that Google’s future aim was to become your “ultimate assistant” (throughout your life). So the future plan is to be able to talk and interact with Google exactly like any another person – which means Google must behave just like a human. That will involve the development of sophisticated language skills, which will in turn require a huge investment.
But Alphabet would lose money without Google. So what about the other corporate entities?
Alphabet involves speculative investments
From the number of different businesses-activities shown on the infographic, it’s not hard to see that Alphabet “bets” on promising ideas. These companies are also just the best known holdings: there’s Google itself of course, but also Jigsaw, Nest, Calico, Sidewalk Labs, Google Fiber, X, Google Capital, Google Ventures, and Verily. Note that Boston Dynamics (not listed here) which Alphabet, despite announcements, has been slow to dispose of, has nevertheless created some interesting robots whose videos can be readily tracked down on the Internet.
Such betting carries inherent risks, and in Alphabet’s case these include finance, credibility and reputation. One significant example here is the space elevator, an “X” project which was eventually abandoned for technical reasons. So dreaming and experimenting, while reassuring investors and the markets in general, is the big conundrum that Alphabet must solve.
Alphabet is not Google
As our infographic makes clear, Alphabet is not just an expanded version of Google. If one remembers Google’s mission, namely the collection and organization of information to make it accessible and useful to all, we can easily see that some Alphabet holdings do not reflect this goal. Google Capital, which only invests in specific kinds of projects, is one example. An important nuance which should be mentioned is that such examples always involve activities related to new technologies, or concern those who are creating new technologies.
Alphabet, life from A to Z
Humankind lies at the heart of our infographic, and is likewise central to Alphabet’s concerns. Alphabet covers everything from small-scale intimacy to boundless space. Wherever people may look, Alphabet is always present. Facilitating our everyday existence, re-imagining cities, or even reinventing geopolitics, all these activities directly or indirectly touch our daily lives – your life.
The most fascinating of these companies is probably the so-called “Calico” (California Life Company) whose mission is to fight against ageing, and even to look at those factors which cause death. So it’s basically trying to kill off death!