Alphabet Inc. is the parent company of a host of technology services that include the iconic Google search engine and all the associated apps that go with it. The company is the G in the FAANG stock acronym and a blue-chip operator of Internet infrastructure. The company was founded on September 4 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while the two were Ph.D. students at Stanford.
The original product was a tool for searching the rapidly growing Internet that revolutionized the budding Search Engine industry. Since its founding, Google has become the world’s premier and leading search engine commanding an estimated 86% of the search market in 2021. The company abruptly changed its name and operating structure in 2015 making it a parent company with Google a subsidiary. This provided some protection against anti-trust lawsuits, improved accounting, and allowed the company to expand into areas outside of search.
Alphabet provides various products and platforms globally, where it is permitted, and operates in three broad segments. The three operating segments are Google Services, Google Cloud, and Other Bets. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and is located within a sprawling complex of modernized and new buildings called the Googleplex. The Googleplex is prominently located within the San Francisco Bay Area and is the company’s largest complex. Employees working in the Googleplex are afforded free transportation on the company’s shuttle bus system as well as other ground-breaking perks.
The Google Services segment is the core of the business. Google Services is built around the Google Search Engine and offers products and services to both businesses and consumers. Among the many revenue streams are search-related ad sales, Android operating system for mobile devices, Chrome web browser, assorted hardware, Gmail email accounts, Google Drive cloud-based office suite, Google Maps mapping, geolocation, and GPS tools as well as Google Photos, Google Play, and YouTube which it leverages in a variety of ways. Other revenue streams include apps and in-app sales via the Google Play store, the sale of Fitbit devices, and Google Nest smart-home products.
The Google Cloud segment is the less visible of the two major operating segments but is no less important to the infrastructure of the Internet or the company’s bottom line. The Google Cloud segment offers cloud-based infrastructure, operating platforms, and other services for business as well as a suite of cloud-based products of its own. The Google Workspace includes project management and collaboration tools such as Docs, Drive, Calendar, and Meet. Google cloud services account for roughly 9% of the global cloud market share making it the 3rd largest operator.
The Other Bets segment is Alphabet’s venture capital arm and it invests in technologies of all kinds and at all stages of development. Some of the projects under the Other Bets umbrella include Waymo and Verily. Waymo was formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project and is focused on self-driving vehicles and related technologies. Verily is focused on the healthcare sector and aims to help detect, prevent, and manage diseases.