Google sprang a surprise on the technology world last night with a major restructure, and also a corporate rebranding. Google still exists, but it’s now part of a new parent company called Alphabet.
Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are bossing the latter – its domain name is abc.xyx by the way – leaving exec Sundar Pichai to step up to become CEO of the Google division – which still includes the search engine, Android, Chrome, YouTube (still with its own CEO Susan Wojkicki), email and maps.
What’s Alphabet then? It’s the new umbrella company which will contain Google, as well as the company’s more futuristic technology plays, from self-driving cars, robots and drones to health tech.
“Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable,” wrote Page in a blog post last night. “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.”
So, big changes and yet business as usual. Even so, the music industry will be keen to see how a Google run by Pichai – who is widely respected in the tech world – evolves in terms of its relations with the entertainment industries.
He should expect to field renewed demands for Google to do more to tackle piracy from rightsholders hopeful of a less testy relationship with the company’s chief. Another of his challenges will be to figure out (with Wojkicki) how Google Play Music and YouTube Music Key sit alongside one another within Google’s business.