CORRECTED-FACTBOX-Alphabet’s ‘other bets’ take center stage as Google’s Pichai takes the helm
(Corrects GV headquarters in paragraph 31 in Mountain View, CA from New York)
Dec 4 (Reuters) – Google CEO Sundar Pichai will replace Larry Page as CEO of parent company Alphabet Inc, heralding a new chapter for the company that helped reshape the global tech industry under its co-founders Page and Sergey Brin.
To expand beyond its core search and advertising business, Google restructured in 2015 and created Alphabet as a holding company overseeing various “other bets”, ranging from its self-driving vehicle unit to helium balloons. that provide solar-powered internet services in remote areas.
Here are some of those projects.
Known as Alphabet’s “Moonshot Factory”, X is a research and development unit that acts as an incubator for the company’s many spin-off projects, such as Waymo, Wing, Makani, Loon and others. helping them to take root as viable separate entities.
Launched as Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo has become one of the most advanced self-driving vehicle technology companies.
In December 2018, it launched the first commercial automated ride-sharing service of its size among major US companies vying to dominate the nascent market.
It now offers fully automated “passenger-only” services to early adopters in Phoenix, Arizona, as it goes beyond the robo-taxi business to generate future revenue.
Incubated in Google’s research lab in 2011, Loon became a subsidiary of Alphabet in July 2018.
It aims to bring connectivity to remote parts of the world by floating solar-powered networking equipment in areas where cellphone towers would be too expensive to build.
Its tried and true tennis court sized helium balloons. For the past three years, Loon has managed to let wireless carriers in Peru and Puerto Rico use balloons for free to replace cell towers destroyed by natural disasters.
But the lifespan of the balloons is only about five months because the plastic degrades. Their presence has also raised safety concerns from some aviation authorities.
Wing is Alphabet’s delivery service using specialist drones, starting commercial aerial delivery services in Canberra, Australia and Helsinki, Finland this year.
In the US in September, Wing partnered with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and FedEx Corp to begin US deliveries from October.
MAKANI TECHNOLOGIES LLC
Makani attempts to harness renewable energy from the wind by using propellers on airborne kites to generate electricity.
It joined the Moonshot Factory in 2013 and this year spun off to become an independent unit within Alphabet, partnering with Royal Dutch Shell Plc to build commercial versions of its kites, according to Makani’s website. .
Verily is Alphabet’s life sciences technology unit working on machine learning and wearables for a wide range of healthcare scenarios.
It partners with several pharmaceutical companies for research on projects such as surgical robots and retina scanning technology for early detection of certain eye diseases.
Sidewalk Labs provides sensor-based urban technology to manage crowds and vehicular traffic.
He is working on a futuristic smart city development project in Toronto that includes self-driving trash cans and infrared sensors to track pedestrian traffic through stores.
CapitalG, formerly Google Capital, is Alphabet’s private equity fund primarily focused on backing new technology companies.
He has invested in companies such as ride-hailing company Lyft Inc, stock trading app Robinhood and short-term home rental company Airbnb Inc.
GV was founded as Google Ventures in 2009 before becoming a venture capital investment unit under Alphabet. Based in Mountain View, Calif., the company has funded more than 400 companies in the life science, consumer and technology sectors.
Acquired by Google in 2014, DeepMind is a UK-based unit that supports research projects that primarily deal with artificial intelligence.
Founded in London in 2012, DeepMind uses general-purpose learning algorithms for applications such as simulations, e-commerce and games.
Another health-related company, Calico focuses on researching and developing methods to cure life-threatening illnesses and address issues affecting mental and physical agility due to aging.
Led by former Time Warner Cable executive Dinesh Jain, Access is an Internet services unit providing high-speed Internet services in multiple locations across the United States. (Reporting by Akshay Balan and Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Tom Hogue)