Tech

Google co-founders hand over reins of parent company Alphabet

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are stepping aside from day-to-day management of its parent company, Alphabet, the pair announced Tuesday — a transition that comes as the search and advertising giant they founded as a college project is facing toughening scrutiny in Washington.

Brin and Page announced their plans in an open letter, saying Google CEO Sundar Pichai will assume Alphabets top post as its chief executive. Brin and Page will keep seats on Alphabets board and remain major shareholders.

Even before this transition, Pichai has become a growing presence for the company in D.C., where Google is facing a flurry of potential antitrust probes and criticism over its operations in China, while Alphabet is a major player in the debate over issues such as the regulation of self-driving cars.

Pichai will now oversee Alphabets forward-looking lines of business, which also include drones and life sciences. He will also continue to manage Googles highly lucrative online search and digital advertising businesses, along with its divisions working on maps, smart devices, the online video service YouTube and the Android mobile operating system.

“If the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost,” Brin and Page wrote. “While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe its time to assume the role of proud parents — offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!”

The leadership transition comes at a precarious moment for Google. The company is fending off antitrust investigations from both the Justice Department and a coalition of attorneys general representing nearly every state in the country. Congress has also taken the company and its Silicon Valley brethren to task for their policies for moderating online speech and handling the personal data of their users.

As a result, Pichai has become a greater presence in Washington in the last year. In March, he convened with military officials at the Pentagon and with President Donald Trump at the White House amid sharp criticism over Googles decision to pursue work in China while simultaneously withdrawing from a Defense Department artificial intelligence program.

Trump and fellow Republicans have also accused Google and other Silicon Valley firms of suppressing conservative views online. Most recently, Republicans accused Google of targeting conservatives with a new policy that prevents political advertisers from targeting their messages to very narrow audiences.

Google and other companies have denied that users political views shape their content moderation and advertising policies. Their rules apply across the political spectrum, the companies insist.

Pichai made his first appearance before Congress last December during a tense House Judiciary Committee hearing at which he fielded a broad range of questions on polRead More – Source

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