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This article was published on August 10, 2015


Why Alphabet? Google became too small a word to contain Page and Brin’s ambition

Why Alphabet? Google became too small a word to contain Page and Brin’s ambition
Mic Wright
Story by

Mic Wright

Reporter, TNW

Mic Wright is a journalist specialising in technology, music and popular culture. He lives in Dublin. He is on Twitter at @brokenbottleboy. Mic Wright is a journalist specialising in technology, music and popular culture. He lives in Dublin. He is on Twitter at @brokenbottleboy.

What was Google before? To most people it was a ‘search’ company. It is the name that became a verb. I’ll just Google that for you. No one else owns or owned search. Bing is a noise your iPhone makes. Ask Jeeves is now back to being a phrase you just find in P.G. Wodehouse books.

Google needed to make the change and split the most ambitious tentacles of the sprawling squid off, to put them into their own petri dishes and allow them to grow independently. Creating ‘Google’ became a word too small to contain Brin and Page’s ambition – here’s why they needed Alphabet reaffirms something: Brin and Page are the most ambitious founders of our age, potentially of all time.

The world is a problem to be solved for them and the constraints of ‘Google’ were chafing too much. We should be thrilled – Alphabet will be able to move faster and smarter. And concerned – the company’s ownership of military-angled companies like Boston Dynamics should be closely scrutinised.

I’m stopping this ‘hot take’ at five paragraphs. Why? Because all we know now is potential. All we know now is that the six letter word Google, derived from the world Googol meaning 1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, doesn’t denote enough possibilities.

This is the biggest tech story of our times. The pundits who tell you they have the answers right now are charlatans. There will be many prophets today, most of them will be false. But when it comes to predicting where the world is heading next, Brin and Page are a pair you should bet on. In the coming days and months, we’ll need cool heads, not hot takes to truly unpack this incredible moment.

Read next: Google is reorganising into a new umbrella company called Alphabet 

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