ABC.XYZ, or the new Google

Why is it every time I hear ABC.XYZ, I think of the Jackson Five?

Some thoughts on the restructuring, renaming, rebranding of Google. First of all, I think it’s great for science fiction authors like myself, how many times have we envisioned a future company which provides and runs everything, and are having trouble coming up with a name. This name is perfect for us, it basically means that they do (or will do) everything. I keep thinking about these guys sitting in a back room at Google (oops I mean Alphabet) and thinking – “Gee, what business should we start for letter M, we don’t have an M, we need an M”. I wouldn’t be surprised if some companies change their names in order to simply be that letter.

I can see it now: it’s a startup, a bunch of twenty somethings crammed into a tiny apartment in San Francisco, looking for investors or an acquihire, looking at this and going “Crap, our company is called Noodle and Alphabet already has Nest, so we should change our name to Moodle so we can grab that M position” Can you see the proposal even now? “Buy us, Alphabet, we could be your M”

Typically, most companies are told “Just do one thing, and do it really well, and you will succeed” which does, indeed, work really well. Then once they do succeed, they do more adjacent things, expanding on their products or services, like Uber getting into home delivery or Tesla doing home batteries. They pick a similar market and expand into it, leveraging what they know.

Not Google, no. They want to do everything for everyone. Believing data and algorithms are at the heart of everyone’s future (they are) they want to have a hand in all things. They want to own all things. On the one hand, this is a great accelerator to the future – in order to build the future seamless world, we will need a giant repository of all data, and the ability to read and write all data to it, and run predictive analytics to it. If all of that data was scattered everywhere, then it would take a while to gather it via the various APIs etc. If all of that data is stored at Google, then it’s easier to use and leverage.

On the other hand, despite Googles “don’t be evil” motto (I wonder if that motto will carry over to Alphabet, or maybe this is a way for them to get around using that motto, maybe they can say now “well, that was Google’s motto, Alphabet’s, on the other hand is “Call Us God” ;)) Google has done any things on the borders of what some may call evil, and therefore not having all of your data with them might be a better idea. Keeps them honest, you know.

Despite Alphabet’s aspirations to do everything, there are only a few things that they make money at. And from my perspective, those things are getting less and less effective. AFAIK, Google’s biggest money maker is still its ad network, which used to be incredibly effective at bringing in the cash. It still does, however, I’ve found, and probably many other businesses have also found, that AdWords is nowhere near as effective as it used to be. If that revenue where ever to drop precipitously or go away, how would their moonshots be supported?

It’s the age old story: I have a job to pay the bills, but I really enjoy my time off, it’s what I really want to do. Google’s playing in the longevity and health space is great, but it doesn’t make money, and it may never. This restructure tells me that they will play in even more random interesting places, but will be expecting their ad revenues to pay for them.

Definitely interesting times.