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A,B,C as Easy as 1,2,3 -- Follow the Money in the Google Renaming

Kids still get to be kids, but now the price of that fun will presumably be counted.

Today, without much warning, the best-known brand on the Internet and perhaps in the world renamed itself.

No, not Hooli! Google is now Alphabet.

No, really. It is the unusual new moniker of a holding company that essentially keeps the same structure as before, gives both co-founder Sergey Brin and major exec Sundar Pichai fancy titles (Brin is Alphabet president while Pichai is CEO of Google) and, mostly, keeps everyone scratching their heads once again on the whimsical and childlike (childish?) nature of the company.

It’s kind of like Beyoncé deciding to call herself Multiplication, but still singing the same stuff. (See Sasha Fierce.)

In fact, in my opinion, it is in the numbers where you can find the real reason for the move, imposing on the company a new transparency with regard to its far-flung and very different divisions — from the money-making search unit to the more unusual ones like its money-sucking efforts with drones and prolonging human life.

It seems to be about accountability and putting everything in its correct place — which has never been a particular talent of Google’s. So much so that recently, when new Google CFO Ruth Porat used terms like “transparency” and talked of cost cutting on its recent earnings call, the stock jumped high.

It’s an effective message to Wall Street to make the company structure more clear, even if it is not really that different from before (all these units once rolled up to Google CEO Larry Page and now will roll up to Alphabet CEO Larry Page).

As the company noted in its regulatory filings on the move:

“Under the new operating structure, its main Google business will include search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android and the related technical infrastructure (the “Google business”). Businesses such as Calico, Nest, and Fiber, as well as its investing arms, such as Google Ventures and Google Capital, and incubator projects, such as Google X, will be managed separately from the Google business.”

Thus, the boring and mature stuff that pays for everything else will be watched over by the very stalwart Pichai, while the others get to play more with the business of the future that is much pricier.

In other words, kids will still be kids, but you can now presumably get to see the numbers on just what that costs. (A whole lot!)

So why couldn’t Google just provide better segment reporting on each of its divisions? Well, that would be obvious! Is Google considering spinning units off? Maybe! Are there now more slots to give talented execs a CEO title? Yes, please!

Or, instead, as companies are wont to do, is it time to shuffle the decks and why not do it with a dramatic and even silly new name? Because it’s Google, that might be precisely the answer.

So, because it’s wacky Monday at the Borg, let’s have some musical fun courtesy of Alphabet’s — oops! — Google’s (well, who knows?) YouTube:

This article originally appeared on

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