Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is a massive company dabbling in a bunch of surprising areas (GOOG, GOOGL)


Avery Hartmans

April 7, 2017

It’s been more than a year since Google blew up its entire corporate structure to form a new parent company: Alphabet.

The shake-up was intended to help all of its businesses operate more efficiently, a move CEO Larry Page was working on for years as a secret project he called “Javelin.”

This move also allowed Page to step back from day-to-day operations to “focus on the bigger picture.”

Now, Alphabet is a massive corporation — ranking in size behind Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft — that encompasses everything from internet-beaming hot air balloons to self-driving cars to Google Cloud. 

Here’s how all of Alphabet’s companies fit under the umbrella. 

Google officially became Alphabet in October, 2015, with the hope of allowing businesses units to operate independently and move faster. Google cofounder Larry Page is the CEO of the umbrella company, Alphabet.


Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Alphabet is divided into two main units: Google and Other Bets. Other Bets is best known for its “moonshot” R&D unit, X, but it also houses several other companies. Let’s start with the smaller companies under Other Bets.



Nest builds smart thermostats and other home devices, like outdoor security cameras. The company was acquired by what is now Alphabet in 2014, and in June of last year, CEO Tony Fadell stepped down but remains within Alphabet. He was replaced by Marwan Fawaz.


George Frey/Getty Images

Alphabet’s Access & Energy division includes Google Fiber, which launched in Kansas City in 2012 but has since expanded to about 9 cities. Fiber offers extremely fast high-speed internet (up to 1G) and some TV. It’s billed as an alternative to traditional cable companies. It currently has about 200,000 subscribers.



Source: Business Insider

But Fiber has seen tough times lately, significantly scaling back its high-speed internet business and eliminating hundreds of jobs earlier this year. Rumors are swirling that Google may be trying to sell its Fiber division sometime this year.


George Frey/Reuters

Source: Business Insider, The Information

Google’s life sciences unit was formerly part of Alphabet’s research and development unit, X. It renamed itself to Verily in 2015 and became a company under the Alphabet umbrella. Verily focuses on healthcare and disease prevention research, like smart contact lenses that can monitor a wearer’s glucose levels and eating utensils with automatic stabilization for users with unsteady hands, such as Parkinson’s patients.



Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet company founded in 2015 to focus on urban innovation. Led by Dan Doctoroff, Sidewalk Labs aims to find new ways to improve cities through technology. The company is located in New York City’s Hudson Yards redevelopment.


Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Source: Business Insider, Hudson Yards

Calico launched in 2013 with the aim to “cure death.” The Alphabet-owned company has invested millions to develop drugs that could help prolong human life by fighting age-related diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s.


REUTERS/ Christian Hartmann

Source: Business Insider

GV is Alphabet’s early-stage venture arm, formerly known as Google Ventures, GV has $2.4 billion under management and has invested in more than 300 companies, including Uber, Flatiron Health, and Slack.


Business Insider/Corey Protin

Source: Business Insider

Google Capital — now known as CapitalG — is Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund. Its mission is purely financial returns, but unlike GV, Google Capital focuses on later-stage startups. Some of its investments include Airbnb, Glassdoor, and Thumbtack.


Thomson Reuters

Source: Business Insider

The “think tank” division within Alphabet was spun off into a company called Jigsaw early in 2016. Led by Jared Cohen, Jigsaw uses technology to tackle geopolitical problems like online censorship, extremism, and harassment.


Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Google DeepMind focuses on artificial intelligence research. Acquired in 2014 for $500 million, DeepMind has focused on adding artificial intelligence throughout Google products, including search. The DeepMind AI can also teach itself how to play arcade games and can play board games against humans.


Google DeepMind

Source: Business Insider

Based in London, DeepMind is now setting up a sizable new team in the US in order to increase collaboration within Google.


Google Deepmind

Source: Business Insider

Google’s Self Driving Car Project worked for the past 7.5 years to develop fully autonomous vehicles. While it began as a part of Google X, the self-driving car unit spun out into its own Alphabet company, Waymo, in December 2016.



Source: Bloomberg, Google

Waymo, which stands for “Way forward in mobility,” has the mission of making “it safe and easy for people and things to move around.” The cars have now driven two million miles, but have not yet become available for commercial use.



Source: Business Insider

There are also a few more divisions housed within X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory. X is led by Astro Teller.



Project Loon is an X “moonshot” that aims to bring internet to two-thirds of the world’s population using internet-beaming hot air balloons. The project recently got a new CEO and a big upgrade that lets the balloons cluster together and beam internet to a concentrated area in need.



Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Project Wing is also part of Google X. The commercial drone delivery service is set to launch in 2017 and made headlines in September 2016 when it flew Chipotle burritos to Virginia Tech students. Project Wing has had its own troubles (like accusations of harsh working conditions) and the head of Wing, Dave Vos, left the company in October 2016. But the company says it’s still committed to the project.



Also see: The alarming inside story of a failed Google acquisition, and an employee who was hospitalized

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Titan Aerospace was acquired by Google in 2014 and renamed Project Titan as part of X. Project Titan was charged with building solar-powered drones built to fly nonstop for years and beam internet around the world. But the project was shuttered altogether in late 2016 with the remnants of it lumped in with Project Wing.


Titan Aerospace

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, 9to5Google

Up next: Google itself.


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

All of Alphabet’s “traditional” products — like Chrome, the new Pixel phone, Google Home, and Google Play — are still housed under Google, which is helmed by CEO Sundar Pichai.


Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

Google’s hardware division was formed in 2016 when Google hired former Motorola president Rick Osterloh. Osterloh was put in charge of Pixel phones, Google Home, Chromebooks, and revamping Google Glass. Osterloh reports directly to Sundar Pichai.


REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Source: Business Insider

ATAP, which stands for Advanced Technology and Projects, is a secretive Google division that works on projects like Jacquard, which makes smart fabric; Soli, which uses radar for touchless gesture control; and Spotlight Stories, which creates short VR films. ATAP now falls under Osterloh’s hardware division.


Matt Weinberger

Source: Business Insider

Diane Greene — who Google hired in 2015 — runs Google’s cloud businesses, which includes G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work), Google Cloud Platform, and more.


Steve Jennings/Getty

Source: Business Insider

Google Cloud is Google’s cloud computing platform that competes with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. It reports to Diane Greene and is a major sources of investment for Google right now. Google execs have said that it could one day be bigger than Google’s ad search business.


© Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

Source: Business Insider

G Suite includes Hangouts Meet, Calendar, Mail, Plus, Cloud Search, and Drive. According to Google, millions of businesses are now using the service.



Source: Google

YouTube was acquired in 2006 and remains a subsidiary of Google. The video hosting site is run by Susan Wojcicki.


FilmMagic for YouTube

Google’s core product, web search, remains under the Google umbrella. There are more than 2.3 million Google searches per minute, which adds up to more than 100 billion Google searches per month.



Source: Business Insider

Google Maps is part of Google’s core business and now has more than 1 billion monthly users.


Google Maps

Source: Business Insider

Google AdSense lets publishers earn money from online content, placing ads on publishers’ webpages. Advertising drives the majority of revenue for Google.



And finally, there’s Android: Google’s mobile operating system. The company frequently rolls out new versions, all named after different desserts. The current version, 7.0, is named Nougat, but previous iterations have been named KitKat, Lollipop, and Marshmallow. Apps, movies, music, and books for Android devices can be downloaded from Google’s Play Store.



Source: Business Insider


This article was written by Avery Hartmans from Business Insider and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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