Alphabet Inc. is a holding company formed in 2015 with the restructuring of Google. The move was made to allow the company more flexibility in its business pursuits and to create more transparency in the core Google business. Google, which began as a simple search engine, is now synonymous with the Internet, cloud, and services related to each. Today, Alphabet is the 3rd largest tech company globally and the G in FAANG.
Google began in 1996 as a research project into Internet search. Founders Lary Page and Sergey Brin thought there was a better way to search and rank web pages than simply counting the number of times a keyword was used. The original algorithm was called Page Rank and the system Back Rub but those monickers did not last long. The new system instead determined a page's relevance by analyzing the websites that linked back to it. The more websites with higher rankings linking back to the original site the better.
The original prototype of the Google search engine was launched in 1997. The name Google was chosen because it is a very large number and refers to a large amount of information a Google search can provide. If not for an investment Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, the company may never have incorporated and become the behemoth it is today.
The company grew over the next few years, changed it headquarters to Palo Alto and then began selling ad space. It was he shift to an ad-based and supported model that provided the income and earnings to grow the company to its current size. Advertising still makes up more than 80% of the revenue. In 2000, the company became the default search engine for Yahoo! and then in 2004 Google went public.
At the time of the IPO, company founders and then-CEO Eric Schmidt agreed to work together for the next 20 years. While that did not come to pass, the trio helped get the company on its current path. In the time since the IPO, Google has not only grown to surpass 3 billion daily searches and 1 billion unique monthly active users it has also acquired other businesses to enhance that growth. The two most notable are the acquisition of Youtube (which is included in the ad-generated revenue) and Motorola. The addition of Motorola was strategic in many ways that include the acquisition of intellectual property and better positioning in patent and other disputes with other tech companies.
Alphabet now operates in 3 core segments providing Internet and Internet-based services globally. Those segments are Google Services, Google Cloud, and Other Bets. The Google Services business is the core Google business and includes search, ads, Google Home, and Youtube among others. The Google Cloud segment is a host of cloud-based services for businesses and individuals that include software suites, security, and cloud-based operations. The Other Bets segment includes a variety of applications and services that do not have a direct bearing on the core business and/or are immaterial to revenue on an individual basis.