‘Google’: a play on the word ‘googol’ – the number 1 followed by 100 zeros and coined by Edward Kasner’s pre-adolescent nephew – now known better as the multinational search engine.
Upon noticing the trending topic today under the headlines, Google announces major restructuring under a new parent company: ‘Alphabet’. It is important to note the prevalent, childlike quality threaded throughout these names, causing this entire rebrand to hold a youth-induced reminiscence. The collaboration of numbers and letters is only a subtle hint at its youthful depiction and brings to question: who is this rebrand truly tailored towards?
Born in 1996 – just a sapling of its later years – Google is as part of generation Y, as are we. We, like the search engine, have grown up together experiencing firsthand the gradual technological advances and subtle introductions of Google+, Google maps and Gmail to name a few. Google for us has been a household name from when we were first given IT classes at school and never once have we doubted its service. Hearing the names ‘Bing’, ‘Ask.com’ and even ‘Yahoo’ sends shivers down spines as we hurriedly rush to change our automatic search engine back to our second nature Google homepage. We are connected to this franchise as much as we are to a sibling, so when on Monday we were subjected to this sudden revelation of Google becoming the new umbrella company ‘Alphabet’, emotions were understandably a conglomeration of extremes.
Some are already claiming to love the new plans, voicing excitement in discovering which companies would be added to the spectrum. Whereas others are more tentative towards the idea, and some are even suggesting that this is a ploy for Google to eventually control the world, megabit by megabit.
Nonetheless, although Google/Alphabet’s true intentions are currently unclear, perhaps it’s only fair to give this umbrella a chance to shelter us from an oncoming storm in which Apple may feel the need to launch a counter-attack and quickly unleash Apple technology worthy of the iPhone 15.
Unfortunately name changes are not the quickest means to gain public trust – let’s be honest, ‘I’m going to Alphabet that’ just is not going to catch on – but it definitely holds that ambiguous and spontaneous factor, required to survive alongside the continuously increasing broadband speed. And who knows, perhaps the new catchphrase can be ‘Algebra: It’ll always remain a mystery’.