Google have announced a significant restructure, creating Alphabet as a giant umbrella company to host its smaller divisions.
Google itself will retain Search, Android, YouTube, Ads, Maps and Apps, as well as most of its technical infrastructure. The changes come with the management of the spin-off divisions, like the auto-driving cars, Google Glass, Calico and the business and investment funds. These will (if they haven’t already) gain their own CEO’s, and will be able to operate largely independently of Google, allowing the slimmed-down company to focus on what it does best.
The statement on Alphabet’s new website (abc.xyz, of course!) should certainly get people excited. Their reasons for cleaning up are particularly relevant and exciting to their future as a tech giant:
“We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant…
…This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google.”
There are some surprises, namely that YouTube remains part of Google. YouTube has its own CEO, but will continue under the Google brand. However, after the initial transition, it’s likely there will be more spin-offs as Alphabet settles down into the new structure. It’s also important to note that Google isn’t yet part of Alphabet – the changes will officially happen later this year.
So, is P for Publishing on the cards?
At our Tech Talk on Apple News a month ago, we had a chat with a Google rep who confirmed that the company would be making an announcement about its publishing offerings shortly.
So far, there has been no official confirmation of how Google’s fragmented publishing ventures will fare under Alphabet. From Play Books to Newsstand and journalistic endeavours such as its News Lab, there is little doubt that Alphabet provides ample opportunities for Google to “empower innovation at the intersection of technology and media”.
Google is definitely late to the publishing party. Apple have loudly and proudly staked their interest in curating beautiful, high-quality published content for its 500 million users, and Facebook are continuing to quietly work on their Instant Articles offering.
These developments are likely to be the kick that publishers need to make their content accessible in article forms, and Google are highly unlikely to stand by and let this snowball without them.
If Google combines its knowledge of the publishing industry with an established set of tools, they could be set to announce an offering to rival Apple’s upcoming ‘News’ service – after all, Google were there first with Currents a few years ago.
Watch this space! We’ll update you with details as soon as Google make the announcement.
For more details about Google’s restructuring, visit their announcement on the Alphabet site.