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Android Should be the “A” in Google’s Alphabet
Jim Rapoza
AUG 20, 2015 13:47 PM
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Android Should be the “A” in Google’s Alphabet
by Jim Rapoza
      
There was a lot of surprise and excitement over Google’s, sorry I mean “Alphabet’s,” announcement this week of, well, it’s existence, and how Google will now become a subsidiary of this new company. From a business perspective, there’s a lot to like about this new company and Google’s place in it, but my question is, did the rise of Alphabet and the design of the new Google go far enough?
 
I won’t go into full detail on the announcement, and you can read Google’s official blog if you want, but, in short, a new umbrella company called Alphabet (and I don’t love the name) has been created and will be run by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.  Underneath this umbrella will be smart home vendor Nest, life sciences division Calico, the high-speed broadband fiber group, investment divisions and the Google X extreme labs. And of course Google itself, which will now be run by new CEO Sundar Pichai, and will consist of pretty much all the Internet stuff that you think of when you think of Google (search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.)
 
From a technology end-user perspective, I don’t expect much to change at all. Pichai has essentially been running Google’s day-to-day operations for a while now and Alphabet lets Brin and Page focus on the cutting-edge stuff they love. But I do think this restructure could have gone a bit further, mainly in how Android is being handled.
 
Right now, Android is still part of Google. But one could make the argument that it should have been spun out as its own new company within Alphabet and outside of Google.
 
After all, Android, like Nest, used to be an independent company before it was snapped up by Google. And there’s a legitimate case to be made that device-based operating systems are now outside of the Internet focus of the rest of what is now Google.
 
More importantly, as a new company related to, but not controlled by Google, Android could potentially be free to make new and better arrangements that would be in the best interest of Android, and not necessarily Google.
 
Of course, some would say that the main idea of Alphabet is that Google is the established company and the rest of the stuff is pie-in-the-sky things that may not pan out as legitimate companies. But this argument falls short when you look at Nest. Smart homes may be a relatively new category, but it’s far more established than self-driving cars. Just do a quick search on thermostats and smoke detectors, and you’ll see that the whole market is following Nest’s lead in smart and connected home devices. Nest may be newish, but this is an established product category.
 
And with their freedom, Nest is free to look into open standards and management options that aren’t 100% tied to the interests of Google. Something that could also be of benefit to Android.
 
But, at least for now, Android is still part of Google. Still, it will be interesting to see where the new Google — sorry, Alphabet — goes. Maybe someday, when I’m a healthy 150 years old, I can use my Android implant over my high-speed connection to go to Google and order a self-driving car, which will be delivered by a giant drone.
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