Interesting strategy, hard to second guess from the outside of course. Sun's motivation was to figure out whether the other parts of the company could stand on their own, it also makes it less fiscally complicated to discharge an entire group into the void. Think HP selling off the Agilent half of itself.
Generally though this sort of move is a way of containing and then "fixing" cost problems. Divestiture is so much easier once you've created the framework of a whole organization around each chunk. It can also be weirdly inefficient, at Sun each of the "planets" paid in a sum of money to IT (Bill Raduchel's organization) for "Corporate IT support" except that Corporate IT didn't work for them, they were just the only vendor you could use to get your IT services, so what you ended up with was really crappy IT work that you couldn't shop around for. It was maddening. But the 'collection of companies' design pattern requires either that you have your "service providers" that everyone uses (HR, IT, Legal) which gives little incentive for quality service, or everyone gets their own version which means a lot of excess overhead and duplicated work.
I could think of at least two other ways Google could have re-organized without bringing that pain upon them, and as Eric lived through it at Sun as well I'm sure he has an opinion.
Oh, and having one of the sub-companies get the world's #3 brand? I wonder how that works out.
 Answer "No" for SunSoft, "Yes" for Sun Hardware, "No" for Sun Labs.
In terms of what's happening here with Google/Alphabet, I imagine that there is some desire to see if some of these companies can make it independently while still being able to make transfer payments to support those that can't. The problem, of course, is that this builds much more explicit resentment from those that are profit-centers towards those that are cost-centers. It will be interesting to see how this works out, but hard to see how this is a stable state; it seems that shareholders will demand that businesses be spun out entirely -- or that the whole thing will have the fate of Google+ and be quietly folded up three years from now...
An additional bit of trouble, coming from the way Google's current profits are made, is that the profit centers are mainly perceived as less glamorous than the cost centers, which seems likely to only add to the resentment. It becomes much more explicit then, that the people doing the various bits of gruntwork needed to keep AdSense working (hugely profitable, but full of jobs like "sales" and "click-fraud arms race") are funding the people getting on the news for drones (not profitable, but cool). Not impossible to manage, and I'm sure they've thought about it, but does seem challenging.
if you don't balance people not wanting to do the low grunt work, you'll only get inexperienced or low rank employers to do it which is extremely hurtful in the medium run (say not in a year, but you'll definitely notice within a decade)
a) Is this about firewalling disappointments and legal problems from Google's core business from the new things that will drive it for the next 20 years?
b) Will they spin out Google's Europe operations in to a separate company so EU regulatory actions have minimal impact on the rest of thier business?
c) Are there other changes they are worried about to the ad business? Proposals to change the tax status of advertising deductions (US) would hit their bottom line hard, even if it if their ad auctions algorithms continue to behave as shill bids.
Will be interesting to see how this changes the main Google business, for better or worse.
The only thing Sun did that is the running for being even dumber is blowing Solaris x86. They released a pretty (for the time) awesome Solaris x86 product back in 1993, but never really got behind it. I had a Solaris 2.5.1 x86 workstation at work in 1997, and even then, my then-boss Scott Swanson was saying how Sun had blown it in terms of taking over the x86 server market.
I mean, even into the year 2006, Red Hat was telling me if their kernel crashed on a RHEL box, I had to set things up so the core file would go out over the network, instead of somewhere on a local disk. Sun had solved problems like that long, long before.
The only upside (such as it was) was that the loss of trust helped accelerate the argument internally to open source the operating system, which we finally did in 2005 -- a system that lives on today in illumos. So in the end, Solaris x86 (like many Sun technologies) represented both the company's worst (capriciously killing it) and its best (open sourcing it, giving it eternal life). Nothing about Sun was simple!
Now, there would be insane ways of splitting the company. Say putting building and operating data centers into a separate company from the company using the data centers to run services. Or splitting Android or Chrome into a separate company that'd then be funded by selling the default search engine setting to the highest bidder. If that kind of thing happens, it'd be women and children first into the lifeboats.
For example, Google would not want to miss on the data from its Fiber or Auto or Nest projects say. It is too valuable to not include as part of a user's profile.
If anything, I feel it can lead to just making the situation even more muddy. What happens to all the Terms and conditions? Privacy policies? Would they, or even can they, stay merged?
For another, they've said nothing about how they plan to handle IT and infrastructure. Though that'll certainly be interesting; they'd be foolish not to take advantage of the Google datacenter and cloud services to accelerate new projects, for instance.
Maybe the differences is that they did this to encourage diversification and innovation, not to manage it.
Internal markets are a really nice and well tested way to gather all the flexibility and agility of a corporate environment, while losing none of the risks, transaction costs and antagonism of a real market. It's a sure way to move your company forward!
But, rants apart, I read the article as Google creating something similar to Lucent Labs, not as separating bureaucratic divisions.
this is actually why bean counters exist!
They're not going to collect one company per letter just so they can have an "alphabet" of 26 companies. The name just implies that they have a collection, a variety, a spectrum of companies.
But Alphabet has a long way to go beyond the 26 English letters, before they run out of funny diacritical Unicode letters with umlauts, accents, slashes, ligatures and dingbats.
The original Sun vision was that Sun Hardware would sell SPARC architecture machines running any OS, SunSoft would sell Solaris for any type of hardware, Sun Labs would license their innovative research rights to anyone who wanted to productize them. Except ...
Nobody really wanted to run their OS software on Sun hardware because SunSoft had an inside track on what was coming out. Sunsoft couldn't really make Solaris on x86 just as powerful as it was on SPARC because it would undercut Sun's HW arm, and Sun Labs? They could never really license a technology to a Sun competitor without the other two companies vetoing it. The whole reason FirstPerson was created (the shell company that was developing Oak which became Java) was to keep the politics and other constraints off what could be done with the software. And when the group told Sun it was going to ship first on "Chicago" (aka Windows 95), Scott McNealy blew a gasket.
Pretty much everyone I've talked to about that decision in depth thought it was a net negative for Sun and that had we had a chance to do it again, they would do something different. And since Eric was right in the middle of that, I would have expected him to advise Larry and Sergei that it wasn't the best choice. And maybe he did, and maybe they have a scheme that will avoid the problems Sun had. I'm surprised though that they chose that route.
Search, Android, Chrome, YouTube, Maps, etc. are all staying under Google. The stuff that's going under other Alphabet subsidiaries is the stuff that's totally disconnected from Google's core businesses, like Calico, Life Sciences, etc.
> Sun is the loose cannon of the computer industry. Unable to see past their raging fear and loathing of Microsoft, they adopt strategies based on anger rather than self-interest. Sun's two strategies are (a) make software a commodity by promoting and developing free software (Star Office, Linux, Apache, Gnome, etc), and (b) make hardware a commodity by promoting Java, with its bytecode architecture and WORA. OK, Sun, pop quiz: when the music stops, where are you going to sit down? Without proprietary advantages in hardware or software, you're going to have to take the commodity price, which barely covers the cost of cheap factories in Guadalajara, not your cushy offices in Silicon Valley.
By keeping Google as one, presumably around search, Google has a shot at avoiding the same fate.
"Under the new operating structure, its main Google business will include search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android and the related technical infrastructure (the “Google business”)"
"In connection with the new operating structure and upon completion of the Alphabet Merger (as defined below), Larry Page will become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Alphabet, Sergey Brin will become the President of Alphabet, Eric E. Schmidt will become the Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Ruth Porat will become the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Alphabet and David C. Drummond will become the Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of Alphabet. Larry, Sergey, Eric and David will transition to these roles from their respective roles at Google, whereas Ruth will also retain her role as the CFO of Google."
Businesses such as Calico, Nest, and Fiber, as well as its investing arms, such as Google Ventures and Google Capital, and incubator projects, such as Google X, will be managed separately from the Google business.
Fiber is the most notable to me - seems they see this as more than an experiment and are looking to expand.
YouTube not separating is an interesting one to me, I expected that to be separate.
My guess is this serves 3 benefits:
1 - Less turf wars.
2 - Better visibility to investors on where the money is.
3 - Ability to spin off pieces as needed.
Many companies resist this type of visibility because they don't want a Carl Icahn to come in and demand a spinoff. The share structure of Google/Alphabet precludes this from happening.
Class C - 0 Votes (GOOG)
Class A - 1 Vote (GOOGL ~4% higher cost per share)
Class B - 10 Votes (Not publicly traded)
Sure, I like all the weird sideprojects, but what happens when they decide to build a 100B Monolith on a moon? If you happen to own Class C shares, you have no say.
If you own Class C and to some extent A shareholders get a raw deal.
The Class B holders have their cake and eat it too.
It just feels morally wrong that someone owning 20% or 15% of company controls 50+% of the votes.
This isn't a morality thing, it means that the Class A common stock holder are more like bondholders (who put in money without votes) with upside, rather than full owners. But all of them were well informed about this when they put the money in.
This is not to say that we should all invest in Class A shares, just that this structure is one way of many to invest in a company, and people who don't like it can put their money elsewhere.
Shareholders don't really "own" a company in the traditional sense. They own a specific package of claims against the company in the event of dissolution, voting rights, etc. In the simple case of a company with one class of shareholders, the analogy between owning X% of the shares and owning X% of the company is fairly close, when you have differentiated share classes that analogy is less close.
And shareholders own because they choose to acquire the stock under specific terms. If they don't like the terms, they can just not accept the deal that would give them the stock. I don't see how its morally wrong that someone that bought a set of claims that don't include voting rights, or include smaller voting rights than some other set of claims, has exactly what they bought.
In this model, the big shareholders get to dilute risks in these ventures, while retaining the ability to exponentially increase their personal wealth.
It's not that one-dimensional . Their company does have resources that enable them to do things you and others cannot do.
You would be right if you owned a controlling interest, but you don't. Because you don't, all the profits of the money-making businesses go where Larry and Sergey want them to go. That's not (necessarily) going to be your pockets. If you owned a controlling interest, you could throw them out if you're unhappy with their performance as capital allocators, but you don't and you can't. So those profits are worth little or nothing to you, both now and in the future, because you aren't entitled to receive them.
You invest in a company assuming it will increase its value over the time you hold your fraction of ownership. Parent isn't saying you're entitled to dividends, but was observing that the decision to buy Alphabet stock will likely mostly be made on the expectation of the money-making businesses continuing to grow, and only minor-ly on the hope that one or more of the ventures takes off and significantly increase company value.
Perhaps I'm reading it wrong but I didn't see an expectation of dividends in the parent's comment.
a) Neither executive nor any member of the board has any concept of fiduciary duty.
b) They can keep any mismanagement out of audited financial statements.
By the way - who is inheriting the piles of money accumulated in the tax heavens? I think that is another elephant in the room. The GoogleX+Fiber+... is obviously a money hungry black hole, so would they be able now to redirect/invest this money from abroad straight into hat loss generating business without incurring the taxes?
Going forward, this re-organization may very well allow capital allocation to be done at various legal entities a-la project or structured finance. That way, the risk/return of the various projects can be traded on more efficiently to the benefit of both investors and google/alphabet shareholders.
This is relevant in the larger context for asset intensive, long-time maturity investment areas --like fiber, self driving cars, etc -- that have fundamentally different economics than the core business (search/ads/youtube etc).
How would this make any difference for the costing of projects (or businesses, now)? In terms of risks and returns. Its not like new businesses under Alphabet will be boostrapped, they'll still be the same drain/boon on resources that they always were.
The Google guys are smart. You don't do something like this without a long term strategic aim.
> There is no strategy. The thought of Google having a central product management strategy -- and successfully executing it across many teams -- is hilarious to people who work there. It's chaos that outsiders try to read into.
This is a consequence of bad internal economics and incentives. Google PMs and engineers are incentivized to create new products and ship them by quarterly deadlines (perf/promo cycles) rather than align their teams towards a cohesive user experience. Thinking this way would occasionally cause teams to, gasp, not build a product they wanted to build. Everyone needs to ship something, ideally something new. After all, you don't get promoted for deciding not to build something. I've seen awful products/implementations go out the door and get killed or reimplemented soon thereafter. And people still list these as "achievements" on promotion packets (and they get promoted despite the product failing!).
The company is kind of trying to address this by changing promotion criteria, but it's culturally ingrained and won't change for some time.
In the short term, it doesn't. But it may be preparation for something in the longer term that does.
Separating Fiber is important for other reasons, most notably, saving themselves from conflict of interest/anti-trust lawsuits.
I really wonder about this though. Conglomerates have a mixed track record  and from where I sit, it's not clear Larry/Sergey are better capital allocators than the public markets.
 Brealey & Myers "Corporate Finance" has a good section on this topic, comparing big Asian conglomerates like Samsung, LG, Yahama, etc. to American public companies over time.
If this was in preparation for spinning Fiber off, sure.
Fiber, cars et al could be spun off, which would create share holder value without dividends, and allow these units to leverage debt rather than capital. Cars, Fiber, the WiFi balloons, could all be spun off at a point where they need capital and debt, and not drag down Alphabet.
Fiber with an IPO and access to debt as its own needs dictate might grow a lot faster than fiber waiting for capital from Google.
Maybe that is Google's plan: get them ready for IPO, then set them free and take an interest?
A clean line between Calico and the advertising business can only be a good thing. Hopefully this means they can get on with analyzing every genome they can get their hands on.
Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort<a href="http://www.hooli.xyz/" target="_blank" class="hidden-link">.</a>
Are we sure it isn't April 1st? Are we sure this press release isn't a hoax?
This is so wild I'm having trouble believing any of it.
That would be no joke if that was a reason to do it.
But that's just my best guess
That is also a common (mandatory?) setup, for multinational companies to have a local subsidiary in every country where they operate. I guess institutions like the EU must be handle that and focus on the activity independently of the fine details of the company structure, so that the restructuring would not really help or hinder.
Seperation at the marketing end for ad services, or for purposes of tax optimisation, does not really alleviate any of the antitrust concerns. It's the services that matter. Google's main ad business and search being in the same company for example.
So the current EU subsidiaries would not have an effect on the EU investigation, but this current plan might.
Either way, WOW!
Btw, i was thinking Amazon A2Z was doing this virtually.
W is for Wing
X is for X Lab
Y is for ...
It's up 5.88% (or $26bn) in after hours trading.
edit: The easter egg is on abc.xyz not the blogspot announcement.
https://abc.xyz/jobs -> https://abc.xyz/about/careers/
Just snapped up prefi.xyz, suffi.xyz, picka.xyz, icebo.xyz, equino.xyz, mailbo.xyz, postbo.xyz, rolode.xyz, soapbo.xyz, toolbo.xyz, lunchbo.xyz, letterbo.xyz, chatterbo.xyz for about $15 total for all of them.
I skipped on conve.xyz, laryn.xyz, proli.xyz, and surta.xyz, which were all open a few minutes ago.
I sent in a registration for proof.com on February 3, 1996, but missed out on it by a few hours to some other dude. Never again!
Just snapped up remar.xyz, networ.xyz, noteboo.xyz, payche.xyz and a few more.
Went on a geometry/graphics kick and snapped up stuff like plotting.xyz and intercepts.xyz as well.
I don't make the rules, I just play by them.
We all make the rules.
The rich boys always seem to get the best names first?
(I do wish when domains expired, the domain company wouldn't have first shot at buying the expired domain? Why are they allowed to do this? It doesn't seem fair? Maybe, I got the protocol wrong?)
EDIT: hartator disingenuously changed the content of his comment to be more measured. The original comment was "I like when Google tries to pretend they're still cool".
I could write that I spilled my coffee, except I don't drink coffee.
I don't know much about trading, but look at that "after hours" spike! http://postimg.org/image/ho5ecyr99/
EDIT: All google subsidiaries are now subsidiaries of a conglomerated called Alphabet. Google is a subsidiary too. Google stock will now be Alphabet stock.
The big news is that Larry and Sergey are stepping back into a more Warren and Charlie kind of role, and Sundar Pichai is taking over as CEO of Google.
My question is, what does "slimmed down" Google mean?
It means Google minus all the parts that are now their own direct subsidiaries of Alphabet.
Which, previously, were all part of Google. Hence, "slimmed down".
It's going to remove the 'is this a thing Google should be getting in to?' question when evaling ventures/acquisitions.
It looks like they're taking all the experimental research stuff out of Google and making them direct subsidiaries of Alphabet instead, particularly projects that aren't directly related to the Internet.
The article talked about Life Sciences and Calico, and I have to wonder if other stuff like the self-driving cars are going to become direct Alphabet subsidiaries as well (then again, maybe not: I assume the self-driving cars are tied closely to Google Maps).
A more focused company that's moving to the top level of this hierarchy is Nest.
Presumably they hope that something outside of the new google division will blow up and make the divisions a bit less lopsided.
Hopefully less likely to run afoul of antitrust regulation.
I have no reason to suspect this, that's just how I usually interpret wording like that.
> The European parliament has approved a motion calling for tougher regulation of internet search, including suggesting breaking up Google as a solution to its dominance in Europe.
That certainly wasn't a done deal nor even agreed that's what the commission would really aim for, but the heat was mounting and Google's move cut them short just in case.
IOW, Nest reports to Alphabet, and so does Google. Both are aligned, but separate.
Look at Blackberry, they had an internal project working against the rest of the company (namely Android on Blackberry hardware) that could, had it been allowed, saved the company. Instead Blackberry are either going to be purchased OR go bankrupt.
Honestly internal competition is an argument for doing something like this, not against it.
The company appears to still be alive and still has a few billion dollars in the bank despite now years of people saying that they're going bankrupt. I wish I was 'going bankrupt' like Blackberry.
Blackberry seems to have secured a solid niche position in mobile security, despite losing the majority of their mobile phone business to more end-consumer electronics driven companies (primarily samsung & apple).
Google seems to like competing against themselves, so I'm not sure that's something that they are particularly worried about.
So long as Sergey and Larry (& Co.) keep from micro-managing, I think this structure will be enormously beneficial. I can't see how someone running Google's web properties would be able to move quickly when also having a hands-on responsibility for developing a self-driving car and a glucose-sensing contact lens.
It's a twist on "adult supervision". They have put an adult in charge of making money. Meanwhile, Larry and Sergey get to keep playing around with all sorts of exotic projects that may or may not eventually make money.
Hm. Judging by downvotes, some folks here liked the fact that he killed XMPP federation of Google Talk and didn't propose Hangouts as an alternative open protocol. What an achievement.
- Google will now be operated as a subsidiary of a new company called Alphabet.
- Alphabet will be publicly traded under the same symbols as Google is now traded.
- Stock will just transfer as-is.
- Sundar Pichai is now the CEO of Google.
- Larry and Sergey will run Alphabet as CEO and President, respectively.
* What was called "Google" will now be called "Alphabet", with Larry and Sergey as CEO and President.
* Much of the core business of the old Google will be operated in a division/subsidiary of the new Alphabet called "Google", of which Sundar Pichai will be CEO.
* The rest of the old Google's business will be in other units of Alphabet.
Obviously s/class/company/g modulo plurals...
* Alphabet has-one Google
* Google belongs-to Alphabet
* YouTube belongs-to Google
* Google X belongs-to Alphabet
I find it easier to think of it as a name change and the creation of a new subordinate entity within the old organization with its own CEO than to think of it as creating a new entity above Google, and transferring lots of functions from Google to the new superior entity, transferring all stock in Google to stock in the new superior entity, and changing the leadership of Google.
Created on 2015-08-10
IP Location United States - Washington - Redmond - Microsoft Corporation
ASN United States AS8075 MICROSOFT-CORP-MSN-AS-BLOCK - Microsoft Corporation
I can't recall this sort of thing happening in my lifetime, so it will be really interesting to see how this plays out. I also wonder how this would be treated if Google didn't have the crazy corporate structure they have now (where public shares are essentially non-equity and non-voting).
Edit: I am reasonably certain this is a tax and liability optimization strategy. It allows their more risky units to operate with separate liability from their cash cow.
Edit 2: I'm actually surprised the stock value hasn't tanked because most of the future potential of Google just got moved outside of the company. How much of Google's future value was based on X? I would say a non-trivial amount of the stock price is the anticipation of future profits, which are now no longer a part of the company the stock is intended to index.
Edit 3: Disregard Edit 2, I misread the release the second time through and assumed X was not part of the company :).
Berkshire is composed of pre-existing businesses that were themselves successful before being purchased. They are not experimental ventures that need to be subsidized. It is exactly the opposite: money is plowed into the strongest businesses. They each generate excess cash, and it is easier to reinvest that cash in some places than others. The conglomerate structure makes it possible to put the cash where it gets the best returns without having to pay taxes or transaction fees.
Alphabet has none of these properties, except the ability to allocate capital tax-free, but they already had that as Google.
They may benefit from the firehose, but were already self-sufficient without it.
That’s in stark contrast to the Google/Alphabet model, where there’s no way driverless cars could exist independent of the adwords firehose.
It’s waaaay more speculative. On the order of VC investing. Rather than Berkshire’s value investing.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
About the only thing this changes is that ex-Google is now explicitly acknowledging to the public markets what everyone already knew: it's a conglomerate, only unlike other conglomerates, it has only a single viable business.
they did nothing to create the algorithm, what right do they have to whine?
The price of Google's stock is based on forward-looking prospects, not on current metrics.
As Google cofounder Larry Page, now CEO of the holding company Alphabet, that will have as its main subsidiary Google, the search company, said earlier today:
>As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago, “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make “smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.” From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.
Well, if Google wants to keep spending investor money into "speculative" areas, what could be dumber than reporting its financials as "Google: hugely profitable" and "other random stuff: huge cash drain"? It will just make investors all the more sensitive to the fact that Google's search business is basically what makes money, and everything else is - for now, at least - a huge cash drain.
Raising awareness to Google's - oops, Alphabet's - business unit's individual financials will attract attention of the likes of Carl Icahn, who's raided Ebay in the past, and who'll engage in open challenging of Page and Brin's capital allocation decisions. It will definitely not compensate for the advantages of having Sundar Pichai take on greater responsibilities as Google chief, etc.
Not at all a wise move.
Its actually very wise move. Now they can ipo out other businesses to get capital investments for something like Google Fiber without diluting the control they have over Google.
This is an extremely good move the more I think about it. They will retain control of the main company but sell shares or give stock options to get talent and capital.
On the plus side (so to speak), if G+ had been factored out maybe the forcible integration would have been slowed.
1) Google - a company comprised of reliably profitable products that run at massive scale (search, video, mobile, mail etc), and they know that Sundar Pichai can manage this
2) Everything else - these are high risk ventures with possibly enormous pay-offs. This is a breeding ground for positive black swans which Google are keen to expose themselves too.
To borrow Nassim Taleb's nomenclature, Google is splitting into mediocristan (1) (bounded variance - existing products [like YouTube] are predictably profitable) and extremistan (2) (Calico - if a major breakthrough in combating aging related diseases is made it will be both unpredictable and hugely materially beneficial)
>> We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well.
This sounds like the business restructuring will allow Sergey and Larry to apply just as much capital as they see fit to the extremistani business divisions. In other words they would like to control their exposure to possible consequential rare events in a simple fashion: by controlling a very simple set of parameters - i.e. how much cash each business division gets.
I don't think it hurt the consumer reputation, and it can't be about the investor reputation, since those things are still inside the entity (Alphabet) that investors will care about (at least, until a way to invest in the new "core" Google directly is offered, which may be part of the long-term plan -- it would explain why they indicated that they will report Google's financials separately within Alphabet's.)
If we are to include less ambitious stuff, Google Video, Orkut, Chromebooks (never went far), Reader, Google Code, Dart, nothing much came out of Morotola, etc.
And let's see were those "self driving cars" will go, market-wise...
Orkut was wildly successful in Brazil and India, until they stopped building it for Buzz and Plus
Reader was hugely successful, which is why the outcry on its closing
Chromebooks are doing great, atleast on Amazon, the world's biggest retailer.
Dart pivoted into a compile-to-JS language, but is still alive
Motorola streamlined it's product lineup under Google and is doing fairly okay for Lenovo
Calling above items as failure is inaccurate. None of them were moonshots btw.
Dart started as a compile-to-JS language for web use with a VM for server use, with an browser-hosted VM for development with a long-term plan that compile-to-JS might not be necessary on the web.
And its still a compile-to-JS language for web use with a VM for server use, with an browser-hosted VM for development use.
Reader was a failure according to Google itself, which closed it due to supposed lack of interest. Once again, if the decision to close it was an error by your criteria, then they failed.
The rest I would agree with.
> By that definition, Orkut and Reader qualify just fine
If everything is a moonshot, nothing is, etc.
AFAIK both projects were just 20% time projects scaled up to three or four people. A "moonshot" is obviously a wishy-washy term, but opportunity for success doesn't seem to be sufficient to call something that.
Yes. They first used the word when referring to Andy Rubin's departure from Android.
If you are Google that reads as "Orkut only got traction in Brazil and India, hence failure". Maybe they could have sold it to some smaller company, but they tried to move the customers to their other services instead.
Umm, no. Reader was not hugely successful. Users loved the idea of using Reader but they did not actually use it.
Reader was very popular relative to the size of the RSS reader market.
Google bought Motorola for the patent portfolio and sold off the rest, so I'm not sure how that was a failure. Motorola also turned around their mobile division with the Moto X under Google (over 100% increase in mobile sales due to the Moto X and company line of products)
I remember Orkut being very popular in Asia for a while.
I dont see how G closing down reader could have that count in the success column, especially considering how much bad blood it bred for G (and how little effort it would have likely meant to maintain it.)
It's around 5-6 million units sold anually, but, as Google themselves said, Google don't make any money of off them.
Samsung, Acer, etc, who produce the units do, but again, in total it represents a tiny slither of laptop profits due to the small margins. Most Chromebooks (70%) go to the education market as cheapo laptops.
Edit: Also, in the past Google would pay Firefox to have its users use Google as the default search engine and Google gets the equivalent of this for free with each Chromebook sold.
E.g. with all the billions developing Android, buying Motorola etc, they still make the large majority of mobile ad money on iOS devices!
They suffer from the gulf state problem where they make so much money from one thing that nothing else will ever be important enough to really be successful.
It's 2015 and companies compete for user timeshare, not dollars.
E.g. you can open a web application selling $10 for $5 today and I guarantee you it's gonna be a huge success.
Dart and Chromebooks failures? Since when
And since Google-made Chromebooks never sold well, and those by third parties (Acer, Samsung, etc) don't make much money for their manufacturers and no money at all for Google, and all constrained to the niche educational market (schools buying them for their students).
Sure, they'll be able to use any language they like, as long as it's C or C++. :)
There is currently no story for using any high level language (read: language that uses GC) like Ruby or Python as a web language by way of WebAssembly.
Actually that's part of the whole point of WebAssembly -- as Eich put it. It's not just to speedup emscripten style ports of C/C++ programs.
Eich's words: "Bottom line: with co-evolution of JS and wasm, in a few years I believe all the top browsers will sport JS engines that have become truly polyglot virtual machines".
A modern GC is a large, complex beast. Python, Ruby, Lua, etc. all have their own implementations of them, and those implementations are specific to the semantics of those languages. (For example, Python's early finalizers. Ruby's FFI, etc.) That's a big blob of code for you to push down the wire with your application every time the user hits your site.
Also, that GC doesn't know how to play nice with the browser's own GC. If you have an event handler that has a reference to some Ruby object that in turn has a reference to some DOM node, neither GC can trace through that path and tell when those objects can be collected. That means you get memory leaks.
On top of that, the language implementation itself is large. The Python executable on my machine is 2 MB. Do you want to add another 2 MB to your app? Is Python enough better than JS to justify forcing all of your users on their crappy mobile networks to download that before any interactivity begins on your page? What about when you start using the additional 45 MB of standard library that comes with Python?
Also, how do you make those standard libraries work in a browser? Who is going to rewrite them all to stop using the native OS libraries they currently use and instead rely on APIs that are available in JS?
That's not to say this is an insurmountable problem. But my belief is that it's a big enough headache to outweigh the benefits you would get from writing your app in another higher level language.
This is why I think CoffeeScript, ClojureScript, Dart, etc. are feasible. But I don't think anyone will be writing web apps in Ruby or Python anytime soon. Languages that look syntactically similar to them (Opal, Red, Pyjamas, Brython, etc.), sure. But the real deal where you can have some app that does, I don't know, "import requests" and have it actually work in a shippably-sized web app? I think that's going to be a much harder path.
It's a great goal for the WebAssembly folks to work towards, but it's an aspirational goal.
It would be a good thing explain why the downvotes
BTW, the best result of wave is hackpad, IMHO.
Plus was intended to eat Facebook's lunch.
They were both huge moonshots.
Unfortunately, they used https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N1_(rocket) for the rockets.