Google Alphabet: From A to X
The “other bets” at Google’s parent firm are shaping our future, from healthcare to cities and beyond. Nicole Kobie reveals Alphabet’s plans
Meet the “other bets” that Google’s parent is backing, including the enigmatic X.
Google is building the future – or, should we say, Alphabet is. The company formerly known as Google is using the billions of dollars it earns every quarter to build internet-supplying balloons, driverless cars and smart contact lenses – and is diligently studying thousands of rodents to help all of us live longer.
Such “other bets”, as they’re called in Alphabet’s financial reports, aren’t designed to pay off anytime soon. Over the last quarter alone, they cost the company $722 million. However, as Google co-founder Larry Page explains in Alphabet’s launch letter, “you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”
Alphabet’s investors needn’t feel uneasy, as those “other bets” are set against the overall company profit of $7.8 billion for the quarter. But, Alphabet has already started to shed some of its less successful side projects, suggesting the holding company will only tolerate so much discomfort. In the past year, it sold satellite imaging firm Terra Bella and terrifying robotics division Boston Dynamics, while shuttering down solar-powered, internet-by-drone idea Titan and modular smartphone Project Ara.
Here are the projects Alphabet has held onto – and what they may mean for our future health, cities, vehicles and more.
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