AH 2015 A New Google LOGO-2

Alphabet’s Stock Buyback Amount Contains Silly Math Joke

October 22, 2015 - Written By Diego Macias

Alphabet, the parent company for Google and most of its side projects has shared some big news today. They communicated the earnings that Google had for the third quarter of the year, with a total revenue of $18.7 billion. This means a 13% increase compared to last year, which exceeded expectations. This comes even after the fact that adverts in Google’s sites on smartphones are less lucrative, but more and more smartphones are being used every day and actually, the amount of searches coming from smartphones was superior to the number of searches coming from desktops for the first time in the last quarter. After years of demanding a stock buyback from investors, the company has decided to spend almost $5.1 billion on its shareholders.

The press release stated: “The board of directors of Alphabet authorized the company to repurchase up to $5,099,019,513.59 of its Company’s Class C capital stock, commencing in the fourth quarter of 2015”. The exact amount seems to be completely arbitrary, but this being Google, we can’t help but wonder why did they choose that particular number. After all, Ruth Porat, Google’s CFO mentioned something about the sum being reached with the involvement of some “fun math” besides usual stuff like cap ex, growth, needs down the road. It turns out that 5.09901951359 is approximately the square root of 26, and of course, there are 26 letters in the alphabet. Also, 5,099,019,513.59 squared results in approximately 2.6e+19 (using Google’s own calculator), which equals 26E18. There, not only the number 26 makes an appearance, but also the number 18, which is close to the number in the total revenue.

This isn’t the first time Google uses special numbers in their transactions, in 2011, when bidding for some patents that belonged to Nortel Networks, they used some famous constants and even an approximate for “pi”. And who could forget all of the Easter Eggs hidden in various occasions under the Google Doodle or even in their mobile operating system Android. This company clearly takes things seriously, but they also like to have some fun while doing it. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Google injects various levels of fun into just about everything they do, from easter eggs in different Android versions, to playable mini games inside of things like Google Doodles and YouTube.