Google are set to dislodge Apple as the world’s richest company following a jump in share price. The restructured search giants, now known as Alphabet, have seen their total value double in the past six months. It is estimated the company is now worth a staggering $520bn.
The battle to be crowned the world’s richest company has been dominated by tech companies in the last decade, with Apple, Google and more recently Facebook all tussling for the title.
How Alphabet became the biggest company in the world:
- Its largest acquisition was phone manufacturer Motorola at $12.5bn
- It purchased thermostat company Nest Labs for $3.2bn
- It purchased video sharing site YouTube for $1.65bn
Now known as Alphabet, the world’s most profitable company is essentially just a rebranded Google. The world’s biggest search engine represents the vast bulk of Alphabet’s total revenues and provides online services for nearly all of Alphabet’s customers, including search, maps, YouTube and Google’s Android OS.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford University in 1995. Their first search engine – initially called BackRub – used the web’s hyperlinks to determine the importance of individual web pages, a system which remains the backbone of all online search activity. This new internet start-up wanted to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, a mission statement which has generated enormous profits and created armies of loyal users but also stirred controversy over data capture and a history of creative accounting.
“We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.” – Google’s Larry Page
Despite rarely being out of the news with accusations of dodging the British taxman and mishandling our online data, the company has grown to dominate online search worldwide and with that taking the lion’s share of online advertising revenues, Google have scrapped their way to the title of most valuable company in the world.
So, what is exactly is Alphabet?
Alphabet is essentially the speculative investment arm of Google, betting on the industries and technologies of tomorrow. These investment centres include X lab, which nurtures new technologies like Wing, Google’s drone internet delivery system.
Alphabet’s long-term plan:
- Getting more ambitious things done
- Taking the long-term view
- Empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish
- Investing at the scale of the opportunities and resources we see
- Improving the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing
- Making Google even better through greater focus
“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!”
Hauling in Google
So could anyone challenge Google’s dominance? Many tech commentators concede that trying to predict Google’s next move is nigh on impossible as they already have so many irons in the fire and their cash reserves are such that they can bide their time, assess emergent trends and then simply wade in with a killer product.
Over-reliance on search
If there is a chink in Google’s cash-rich armour it’s that, unlike when they first set out with online search at the turn of the 20th century, search engines are no longer that difficult to build – plenty of alternative engines exist now – but if a company were to create a search engine to rival Google’s than the world’s richest company would quickly have a serious problem on their hands.
This is presumably where Alphabet’s more creative investment arm is driving things forward: pinpointing the industries, technologies and digital behaviours of tomorrow to ensure that in ten or twenty years’ time, Google are still holding the competition at arm’s length.