It isn't often that a major company undergoes a dramatic restructuring, and it's even more rare while the company is still incredibly successful. However, that's just what Google has done, and no one saw it coming.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided that Google was doing too much under the Google name. In the past few years, Google has acquired Nest, which does smarthome gear; Boston Dynamics, which does robotics; developed self-driving cars; started working on health products and life extension; and it's been exploring other areas that have little to do with the Internet.
In response, Brin and Page launched a new holding company named Alphabet. Google is going to be just one of many companies under Alphabet's umbrella. A lot of the disparate projects Google is now doing will be spun off into other companies with their own CEOs.
For example, Calico, which is devoted to extending human life spans, will be a company, as will Nest and Google's future-looking X lab. Google is also planning to extend its venture capital efforts and patent programs.
As far as structure goes, Larry Page is going to be the new CEO of Alphabet with Sergey Brin as the President. Stepping into the role of CEO at Google is Sundar Pichai, who is has been heading the engineering department and acting as Page's lieutenant since October.
Google will be "slimmed down" and focus primarily on Web search, existing Google services, Android, YouTube and Chrome. If you own shares of Google Inc. stock, Page says they'll be automatically transferred to Alphabet Inc.
And if you're wondering what's up with the name Alphabet, Page explains: "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! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!"