Google announced a major shakeup this week as company founders announced the creation of a new overarching firm called Alphabet Inc. to oversee and manage the Mountain View tech giant's various ventures.
As part of the change, longtime Google CEO Larry Page said he would hand over the reins of the company's mainstay search engine division to the company's product chief, Sundar Pichai. Meanwhile, Page and co-founder Sergey Brin are becoming the new CEO and president at Alphabet.
Explaining the change in a company blog post Monday, Page said the new company was created to improve transparency and control over the company's diverse business ventures. Google, which started in 1998 with a newfangled web search algorithm, is today considered a leader in dozens of different fields, including self-driving cars, drone package delivery and anti-aging research.
In Mountain View, the announcement came as big, albeit cryptic news. With more than 11,000 employees in town and plans to hire many more in near future, Google plays a significant role in nearly all aspects of city management. A Google spokesperson said the company has no plans to leave Mountain View, and it would continue to grow its operations here.
City leaders say they learned of the company's plans on Monday just like everyone else. It doesn't look like the news signals any change for the company's relationship with Mountain View, said Councilman Mike Kasperzak.
"The obvious questions here is, does this have any implications on the day-to-day realities of Mountain View," he said. "My supposition is that it does not."
In his post, Page explained that restructuring the company would provide better management scale by running unrelated projects independently. Each mini-company underneath Alphabet would have its own CEO and leadership organization.
Meanwhile Alphabet is remarkably lean, with just four employees based out of Google's Mountain View offices. Google officials pointed to Warren's Buffet's firm Berkshire Hathaway as another example of a skeletal company that nonetheless controls enormous capital clout.
For now, company officials said the Google arm of the company would be "slimmed down", but would still include the search engine, advertising, maps, apps and Android smartphone divisions. Other Google ventures would be restructured directly under Alphabet, such as home automation (Nest), biotech (Calico) and urban planning (Sidewalk).
"For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google the birth of Alphabet," Page wrote.
"We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search!"