There’s been a ton of talk in the last 24 hours about Sundar Pichai and his new – or at least technically new – role at Alphabet as CEO. Many know Sundar as CEO of Google, and just as many may be unaware of Google’s umbrella company Alphabet. When Alphabet was formed in 2015 to allow Google to stay focused on all the core parts of Google’s actual business, Sergey Brin and Larry Page became the CEO and President of the over-arching company Alphabet and Sundar was named CEO of Google.
This structure is still in place, but Brin and Page have now stepped down from their respective roles and have handed the reigns over to Sundar Pichai to lead Alphabet and Google in the years ahead. It is by most measures a strong move in the right direction for both Alphabet and Google. The job Pichai has done over his 4 years as CEO of Google bode quite well for what work he can do in bringing Alphabet into its next phase.
Dieter Bohn over at The Verge put together a great article outlining some of the deeper and more nuanced parts of this transition and I’d highly advise you take a few minutes and read more about it. Breaking down Sundar Pichai’s job at Google and the possibilities he brings to the table for Alphabet’s future aren’t exactly what I’m here to talk about, though.
Instead, I’m excited that the now-CEO of Google and Alphabet is a massive supporter of and believer in Chromebooks and Chrome OS. As a matter of fact, Sundar Pichai was the youngster on stage pictured below that debuted the first-ever Chromebook to the world along with the controversial Chrome-based OS it ran in the CR-48.
Sundar has been a champion for the Chrome and Chrome OS platforms throughout his time at Google, being a part of the team that brought Chromebooks into existence in the first place. Even as CEO at Google for the past four years, he has not allowed the necessity of Android and search/ad revenue detract from the ongoing development of Chrome OS.
Think about where Chromebooks have come in the time that Sundar has been CEO at Google. We’ve gone from a handful of devices to droves (with a ton more on the way); a simplistic OS to one that can run web apps, PWAs, Android apps, and Linux apps; and from a small insertion in education to dominating the sector. To put it lightly, Sundar Pichai has overseen the entire maturation of Chrome OS and Chromebooks to the point we are at today.
Could the ecosystem have made it this far without him in charge? We’ll never know, of course, but I’m doubtful that the old Google would have stayed the course. As a company, Google has the track record of an abandoner, but new products and services that have emerged under Sundar’s watch don’t feel quite as easy to drop. Consider Google Assistant in the portfolio of new things that have emerged during Pichai’s time and you begin to see Google’s somewhat newfound ability to see products through even the tough development times.
Chrome OS hasn’t “arrived” yet in our eyes. There are still hiccups along the way and new obstacles to overcome, but Google has shown a rather uncharacteristic devotion to the platform through ups and downs and I believe much of that perseverance is driven by the man in charge. With his new role as CEO of Alphabet as well, I rest a tad easier knowing that the platform we spend an awful lot of time researching and reporting on is in good hands. I feel better knowing that the OS and devices I love using aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And I wish Mr. Pichai all the luck in the world as he begins his new endeavor.