Google’s announcement that it was reincorporating as a holding company called “Alphabet” came as a near total surprise to observers—and apparently to many employees.
According to a thread on Quora asking Google workers for their opinions of the shift, many said they found out from emails from Alphabet CEO Larry Page and new Google CEO Sundar Pichai. That is, if social media didn’t beat them to it.
A few working in businesses that have less clearcut (or at least unannounced) new homes remain a little confused over what it means for them. But the reaction was largely positive after the initial shock and double take to see if it was April 1st.
Some reactions were rather blasé and self interested (“It started with: ‘Is it April Fools’ Day?’ Now it’s mostly along the lines of: ‘Sweet, GOOG [the company’s stock ticker] is up after hours.'”)
But there were some more substantive reactions as well. Many echoed the company’s line—that this will slim down and speed up the core business, help clarify the way the company works, and make it easier to invest in “moonshots.”
Others think it makes sense culturally. From researcher Jack Rae:
As of today, I have been a Google employee for 365 days and during this first year have felt less so part of a company but more so part of a conglomerate of tech startups and initiatives that use common internal infrastructure and run by common values. So whilst I was reading the news on my phone, sitting in a restaurant, it really felt like a sense of identity was being restored.
The elevation of Sundar Pichai to lead Google, however, didn’t come as a great surprise or at least an unwelcome one. “With regards to Sundar being CEO, some of my coworkers and I went to lunch and were joking about how since the last reorg, Sundar has basically been an excellent CEO of what most folks thought of traditionally as Google,” Google engineer Kartik Ayar writes.
Reactions might change as the reorganization takes hold and the novelty wears off, but the people speaking up publicly (who are, it should be noted, self-selecting) seem to view it as a pretty logical move, despite the initial shock.
When asked for comment, Google declined to speak beyond yesterday’s blog post.