A metaphorical bomb was dropped on this generation the day ‘Google’ was renamed to ‘Alphabet’. Many of us are still having a hard time wondering why Google is no longer the Google that we used to know. Quite a few things are at play here, however, the biggest catch is the average people’s association with the word ‘Google’ itself. For a mass communication major, this case is a perfect specimen related to Ferdinand de Saussure’s theory of semiology, where he elucidates the relationship between ‘Identifier’ and ‘Identified’, often coined as ‘Signifier’ and ‘Signified’. Putting it in layman terms, it is all about exploring our mental images of any ordinary word.
Consider this, when you hear the word ‘tree’, you immediately start imagining an object with a big brown trunk and countless green leaves scattered like an afro. The word ‘tree’ is the ‘Identifier’ here while the image you drew in your head is the ‘Identified’. What we visualize for every word has a very strong cultural and contextual influence, however, that is discussion for another day.
Google’s journey dates long back in 1996, when the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin jointly created a search engine called ‘BackRub’ as a research project. In 1997, Google.com officially emerged in its own glory, entered the public domain and captivated mankind with the revolutionary idea of accessing the endless information stockroom through a simple click.
However, the founders never really wanted to create just a search engine. When the world was busy learning everything possible via world’s “biggest search engine”, Larry Page and Sergey Brin was envisioning the future. In the year 2000, Google hit a big target with the launching of Google.com in 10 languages; not a bad feat in just 3 years might I add. As the years passed, Google gradually grew out of its ‘search engine’ shoes. The expansion began with Google Adwords in 2002 with its cost-per-click pricing feature, moving to the launches of Google News and Google Labs on the same year.
Ever since, Google have been travelling at lightning speed in the highway of technology. Few more noteworthy ventures that Google have further launched are Gmail (the coolest email portal you might use), Android, Google Earth, Google Glass (although the first attempt failed sadly), Google Driverless cars, Nexus, Google X, Google Maps, Google TV, Google wallet and many more. So you get the picture, of all the technological aids you are associated with every day, Google possess at least an 80% share, if not more!
Coming back to square one, what do you visualize when you hear the word ‘Google’? Is it just a white screen on your browser (if not Chrome, Mozilla is okay too) with Google written right in the center in solid red-blue-green-yellow, with a narrow rectangular box right below it? Or, there are more things to add now? This is exactly why Google decided to have a separate mother company name of its own. And, this is where my classroom lessons come into play.
Over years, Google has founded handful ventures which have branded Google as more than just a search engine. Google itself has intended to be recognized separately for each of its success stories. There is no such corporate espionage or secret marketing strategy involved, simply put, Google wants to be known for every single entity they hold, on top of being a search engine.
Naming themselves recently as ‘Alphabet’, the company intends to create, innovate, and construct every kind of technology and gadget that a human brain can possibly imagine. The newly named mother company already has booked letters C, F, V, X, N, S with Calico, Google Fiber, Google Ventures, Google X, NestLabs and Sidewalks respectively while, of course, G is taken by Google.
Image Source: Internet
Does it make any difference for you or me? Not really. For, the idea or ritual of “Google”-ing anything stays back anyway. What we may not be seeing is Google releasing some cool application or gadget as before; they will now probably be released under Alphabet’s name. Although critics proclaim that Google becoming a big profitable business was destabilizing the fellow business concerns like Google Glass, investors raised concerns regarding the future of the company. However, Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet in his announcement note clarified every speculation as he asserted, “….we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products—the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.”
Thus, Alphabet is the new mother company today and Google is its biggest conglomerate. Google appointed its new CEO Sundar Pichai two months earlier, while the core founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page as the President and CEO respectively, gear up together to widen the horizon of Alphabet in pursuit of turning bigger dreams into tangible reality, where each of their brainchildren will co-exist, above any conflict of name or interests among the company.
Moral of this event may enthuse every dreamer out there, who aspire to have their own brand one day. Next time when you brainstorm on your big idea, give a great deal of thought into ‘naming’ your business right, so that you may foresee how exactly people will likely be perceiving it. The age old saying “first impression is the last impression”, thus, comes handy for any category of business, be an entrepreneur or a start-up.
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