Alphabet : Frozen in time

Alphabet, Google's holding company, has not updated its home page for three years

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The feature

Alphabet was set up to act as a holding company for Google and other companies in August 2015. Its site, with the URL, was launched on August 10 that year to explain its raison-d'être and to link to its investor area.

The home page has not changed since that date. It is visually simple, with 'G is for Google' as the headline, a scattering of colourful building blocks to the right, and a link to Investors in the top right corner. Clicking 'more' reveals a letter written by Larry Page to explain the thinking behind the company's establishment. The letter starts 'As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago ...'.

The investor section has earnings releases and SEC documents presented in a simple table, with a variety of formats.

The takeaway

The Alphabet site has several strengths. It looks good, is simple and, most importantly, has a nicely informal style in the letter. Even though the content is purely corporate, this does not feel like a standard corporate talking to us. That presumably is the point. We even forgive the missing apostrophe in 'founders'.

But the site is lacking in two ways. First, there are no links to the companies Alphabet owns. The letter says that 'Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which is, of course, Google.' What are the others? A corporate site that does not explain the basics is flawed.

Second, the home page has not changed one jot, though the investor section has been kept up to date. That no-one has thought to update '11 years ago' as time has rolled on speaks of abandonment, or certainly not the dynamism Alphabet otherwise exudes. A small thing perhaps, but the corporate home page is the first introduction many will have to a company, and one that says either 'careless' or 'uncaring' is not doing that job well.
First published 25 July, 2018
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