Google’s newest CEO, Sundar Pichai, missed a meeting of the various Alphabet divisions to discuss a smaller project the day after Larry Page made the change official, which caused everybody there to realize that the new Alphabet venture was going to be radically different from the Google that they knew before. Pichai, once king of the castle, was now only needed when matters concerned Google’s core businesses. In the new Alphabet structure, each division has its own corporate identity and CEO. Google, headed by Pichai, tends to Android, search, and Youtube. Smaller divisions such as Google X, a division for the company’s “moonshot” projects like self-driving cars, and a separate division for the Google-acquired hardware maker Nest, exist to keep separate businesses separate and to put a hard structure with a clear leadership hierarchy at the forefront of all of their matters of business.
When Alphabet was formed in August, many expressed skepticism, but Google’s highest, mightiest, best and brightest were confident that the restructuring would, among other things, bring more focus to each project and allow faster progress from a more dedicated staff, leading to a better end product being released faster and maintained better. The new company will likely have all-in meetings much less often and mainly to discuss goals and progress, rather than to devise plans of action. This new dawn for Google is still experiencing growing pains but has thus far not hit any major stumbling blocks.
As well as allowing more flexibility in each department for better focus, the new arrangement will make incidents like this more and more commonplace as important people attend to important business that they are specifically familiar with, rather than having the company form a mass think tank. Separate divisions exist for tons of ambitious projects, such as the controversial and often delayed Project Ara. The new structure is intended to prevent things like that from happening and allow people who came to Google with a certain area of expertise to brainstorm, problem solve and otherwise mentally breakdance as Googlers are prone to do, without being forced quite as far from their comfort zone. It remains to be seen whether this lofty goal, even by Google standards, will be met, but the whole tech industry will be watching Alphabet’s every baby step with bated breath.