August 12, 2015
The Internet was broken (again) this past Monday when Google made the sudden announcement that it had created Alphabet, Inc. a new company under which Google would become a subsidiary. While the world spent the past two days trying to figure out what it all means for Alphabet, Google, and our minute human understanding of the world, those actually working at Google / now-Alphabet have gone through their own mixture of emotions and thoughts.
In a recent Quora thread, Google employees (now Alphabet employees) shared their thoughts on the company’s direction – starting from their initial reactions and what kinds of responses they saw from their coworkers to their opinions and analyses behind the move. The question, “What do Google employees think of the creation of Alphabet Inc?” has gotten several answers since it was first posted Monday.
“So it’s a pretty weird feeling right now because I don’t actually know which company I belong to,” writes Jack Rae, a research engineer at Google that was working on DeepMind. “Nevertheless, aside from feeling a bit of surprise – I’m really excited. People can dive into the analysis way better than I, but to me this transition just makes sense. As of today, I have been a Google employee for 365 days and during this first year have felt less so part of a company but more so part of a conglomerate of tech startups and initiatives that use common internal infrastructure and run by common values. So whilst I was reading the news on my phone, sitting in a restaurant, it really felt like a sense of identity was being restored.”
For the most part, it seems that Google employees were all shocked upon first hearing the announcement, but then understood why the transition to Alphabet as a holding company made sense. Responses have come from various roles within the company – from interns and account strategists to different engineers spanning the company’s different businesses.
We’ve compiled some of the responses from the Google employees below:
“By making this decentralization explicit, the entities within Alphabet can flourish without the distraction of core business, and Google can slim down and move faster. I’m happy with the news and feel optimistic that this is a good long-term maneuver.” – Jack Rae
“For an hour or so, productivity dropped to zero here in Search, with engineers discussing the history of reorgs at Google and how a reorg can increase the value of a company. With no ambiguity as to where Search will be, we checked GOOG and GOOGL – the stock was up 5% after market (now >6%). Cool! Someone did their analysis. Back to work.” – Igor Markov, Google Search
“If this is implemented well, it could do a nice job clarifying the relationship between Google and its moonshot divisions and acquisitions. For example, say Google acquires a great small company WXYZ. Is WXYZ expected to move its technology onto the Google stack? Google is pretty open internally; is WXYZ expected to share its proprietary information with the rest of Google? Is WXYZ responsible for responding to internal bugs and feature requests filed from tens of thousands of Googlers? Can WXYZ employees transfer to Google and vice-versa? I can see the potential advantages of having Google and WXYZ as separate Alphabet companies and going from there.” – Jeremy Hoffman, Software Engineer (Google Search Quality)
“Different problems sometimes require a different mindset and different subculture to solve well. Ambitious leaders like Larry and Sergey are what inspire many of us, and I for one and hopeful that the new structure means more problems in the world can be solved.” – Kartik Ayyar, Google Engineer
“Looking at where the company is today, I can definitely say the move make[s] sense. In fact, there were hints along the way. Sundar taking over most of Google’s core operations month ago. Google branching out into everything future-oriented for years…I still feel kind of scared, weirdly, but it’s that excited scared. I feel optimistic. I feel like a kid.” – Thomas Wong, Google Associate Account Strategist
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