How to Find Your Lost or Stolen Android Phone

You’re having a night out. With dinner down the hatch, you’re walking down the street with your sweetheart to the next destination. You reach into your pocket to pull out your phone, when that feeling hits the pit of your stomach: your phone is missing. Did you leave it at the restaurant? Or maybe at home? Did someone steal it? Your mind races. You have no idea.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do in this situation to hopefully get your phone back.

How to Find Your Phone From Your Computer

There’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across this article after having lost your phone, so instead of telling you what you should’ve done before losing it, let’s get right to it: you want to know what to do right now.

The good news is that you can quickly find your missing handset with Google’s Android Device Manager, even if you don’t have the app installed. Grab your computer (if you don’t have your computer, see the next section), connect to the internet, open Chrome, and make sure you’re logged in to your Google account (seriously, this part is crucial). Type “Where is my phone” in Chrome’s omnibox. This will do a search, and Google will automatically load a mini Android Device Manager window inside of the search results. During my testing, I found this little box to be pretty hit and miss in terms of accuracy, so for the sake of finding your phone quickly, go ahead and hit the first link: “Android Device Manager.”

This will bring up the Device Manager site—you may or may not have to log into your Google account again here—and immediately start tracking your device. If you happen to have multiple phones and tablets, you can use the small drop down to find the one that’s missing.

Once you’ve told the Device Manager to find your missing phone, it’ll start tracking and shouldfind it within a few seconds. It’ll provide the time it was located, the location, and the accuracy range. This will give you a damn good idea of where your phone is.

To make sure your personal data is safe and secure, you can use the “lock” button to quickly enable a lock screen password, even if you didn’t have one enabled before. Once the password is set, you can also put a recovery message on the locks screen—something like “Thanks for finding my phone! Please call the number below.” (Then put a number in the box below.)

This should, in theory, lock the device up behind the password you entered. The message will display in big letters at the top of the screen, with a large “Call Owner” button just below. If an honest person found your phone, hopefully they’ll call you. If a thief snatched it, hopefully they’ll know you’re aware that the phone is missing and get freaked out. I wouldn’t count on that, though.

After locking the device, you can also send a command to ring it, which can help you pinpoint its exact location if you just left it somewhere. It doesn’t scream out—it just plays the set ringtone at full volume for five minutes. If you’re tracing back your steps to a location where you left it, you should probably wait until you’re close enough before executing this command.

Lastly, if all hope is lost, you can completely wipe the device with the “erase” command. This will completely factory reset the device, wiping all of your personal data, pictures, music, and all other stored files. It will also try to wipe the SD card if your device has one, but there’s a possibility (depending on Android version and manufacturer) that it may not be able to, so keep that in mind. Once the phone has been wiped, Android Device Manager will no longer work, so this is basically you saying goodbye to your phone—this is the point of no return.

How to Find Your Phone from Another Android Device

So maybe you don’t have your computer handy, or you don’t want to go back home just to find your missing phone. That’s understandable, and there’s another solution: the Android Device Manager app. If you have a second Android phone or tablet with you, grab that bad boy and give the app a quick install.

Once you’ve got it loaded up, you’ll need to input your Google password to start location devices. The app works exactly like the website, so all of the instructions and details above are applicable here. You can ring, lock, and erase your device directly from the app with all the same options that the web offers. Boom.

How to Find Your Phone from a Friend’s Phone

So what happens if you don’t have another Android device or your computer? That’s when it may seem like all hope is lost, but fret not, there’s still an option. Grab a friend’s phone or tablet—doesn’t matter if it’s Android, iOS, Windows Phone, or whatever else (just as long as it’s a smartphone).

Open the web browser and do a search for Android Device Manager. Open the first link, and sign in. Boom, you’re in.

The only snag you may run into is if you have Two-Factor Authentication enabled on your Google account, which will require you to input a six-digit code before getting access to your account. The problem is that this usually relies on either an app (like Google Authenticator) or a text message to get you this code, and if your phone is missing…well, you see where this is going.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep some backup codes handy. Google provides these when you set up two-factor authentication in the first place, so print them out and keep them somewhere safe—don’t wait until it’s too late! These codes could mean the difference between getting your phone back (or at least keeping prying eyes away from your personal data) and never seeing it again.

Once you’re logged in, the Device Manager will work the same way as discussed above. Do your thing. Good luck.

Other Things to Consider About Android Device Manager

Like everything else, Android Device Manager isn’t without its limitations. For example, if your phone is stolen and you don’t have a protected lock screen (shame on you!) and the thief has already performed a factory reset, you’re out of luck. The phone is no longer associated with your Google Account at that point, so Google has no way of tracking it. Bummer.

If the phone happens to die before you can track it, or the thief turns it off, all hope isn’t totally lost—Android Device Manager will try to provide the last verified location. This will at least give you an idea of where you could’ve lost it. You can also hope that whoever finds it will put it on charge for you—then you’ll be able to track it again. Or maybe they’ll just call you. That’d be neat too.

Finding out your phone is missing can be a gut-wrenching feeling, but Google has done an excellent job with Android Device Manager, as it’s a fully integrated option that takes the place of dozens of janky products that tried to achieve this goal before. So while it may not be any easier to realize that your handset is gone, at least you have solid hope of getting it back.

Happy Finding :-)

Are Cheap Android Phones Worth It?


Cheap Android phones are quickly becoming commonplace—for as low as $99, you can get a reliable, initially-impressive handset that you’re free to take to a bunch of different carriers. While these bargain-bin devices are definitely appealing, you have to ask yourself: is it really worth it?
What Makes a Cheap Phone a Cheap Phone?

Let’s start with the obvious: cheap phones are cheaper for a reason. There has to be something that separates a $99 phone from a $700 one, and–in most cases–it’s probably a few things. Here are a few areas the manufacturers tend to cut costs.

Most of the time, affordable phones have either current low-end hardware, or higher-end hardware from two or three years ago. This is one of the most effective ways to keep costs down, but that always means performance takes a hit. In addition, the cameras are usually of lower (but generally passable) quality, and the screens don’t commonly have the high pixel density, super-sharp displays of current-generation handsets.

Right out of the gate, you have to keep in mind that you’ll be dealing with either a lower-end processor—like something from Mediatek, for example—or possibly an older Snapdragon chip, probably from somewhere around the 400 range. This is noteworthy for those who think “I can just get something cheap and put a ROM on it,” because certain chip manufacturers are known for not releasing source code, thus making it impossible for developers to build ROMs for those devices. Essentially, count on sticking with the stock software throughout the lifetime of the device, thought a bit of research ahead of time wouldn’t be a bad idea either. That way you already know what you’re dealing with before it’s too late.

But there’s also another side to this story. Every year, processor manufacturers improve the technology they use to increase performance and battery life. This tech, naturally, trickles down, so just because a processor is “budget-friendly” doesn’t automatically make it bad. In recent years, some of Mediatek’s Octa-core processors (like the 6753, for example) have gotten quite powerful, making them excellent choices for budget devices. The price to performance ratio in these kinds of devices is generally fantastic—dramatically more than most modern flagship units. The performance isn’t comparable, but at least you’re really getting your $99 worth.

Display tech is also a point of concern with lower-end handsets. Generally speaking, the displays of most budget phones, while not quite as high resolution of modern flagships (1080p vs. 1440p), are pretty decent—Motorola puts nice-looking panels in its Moto G line, Blu devices typically have very nice displays despite their generally-low price points, and the Huawei Honor 5X sports a 1080p display that readily competes with the flagships of yesteryear.

If I had to pick one piece of the hardware puzzle that will almost certainly be sub-par in a budget phone, it’s the camera. The display may be decent and the performance acceptable, but cameras are almost always a disappointment. It makes sense, really—that’s one of the most important features to most users, so getting something simply outstanding is a big part of what jacks up the price on high-end modern devices. Most of the cameras on budget devices these days aren’t as bad as they once were, but I can tell you right now: if a good camera is a must-have for your next device, a budget phone simply won’t be for you.
Long-Term Reliability and Updates

Reliability is a bit harder to pinpoint, as it’s going to be different for every device. But the long and short of it is this: if a current-gen high-end handset gets you an easy two years of use, a more affordable one may only survive half of that. There’s a chance it could live a long, fruitful life, but there’s probably an equal chance it’ll kick the bucket in the first year one way or another—these phones aren’t designed to be nearly as robust as more expensive phone will be so they’re more fragile. You also have to keep in mind that they have to cut costs somewhere, so hardware failure isn’t something that’s totally uncommon. In my experience, the lifespan of a budget phone is a coin toss.

Updates are a bit of a coin flip, too. It’s questionable whether or not the $150 handset you’re thinking about buying will see the next version of Android—and if it does, it’ll likely be the last one it ever sees. Not to mention it will probably come much later than that of a flagship phone—sometimes even a full update cycle later. So when everyone else is getting Android 7.0 (or whatever the next major release is), the budget handset may just be getting 6.0. You never know, but the companies that build affordable Android phones just don’t have the manpower to continuously support these devices long-term, though many of them are at least making an effort to provide updates and continued support to their low-end catalog.

In short: if you go into this expecting to get a Galaxy S7 (or even S6)-equivalent phone, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But if you keep your expectations in check, you can come away with about 80 percent of the premium Android experience for a fraction of the cost.
Know Your Carrier—Compatibility Is Key

For those that don’t already know, not all phones are compatible with all carriers. In the US, there are two main types of cellular service: CDMA and GSM. Sprint and Verizon are the primary CDMA carriers, while T-Mobile and AT&T are the two primary GSM carriers. The tech behind each type of service is very different, but that’s not what we’re really concerned with for the sake of this article—you really only need to know one thing when it comes to buying off-contract phones (not just cheapies, either): GSM is generally open; CDMA is not.

Basically, neither Sprint nor Verizon offer options for customers to bring their own phones. They have what they offer, and that’s that. There are a very few exceptions to this rule, however, like the Google Nexus 5X and 6P, but otherwise, you’ll have to stick with the phones Verizon and Sprint offer.

GSM carriers—like AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, and US Cellular, for example—are pretty “open.” You can take most modern GSM smartphones, drop a SIM card from one of the aforementioned carriers in it, and it should just work, no matter where you bought it from.

For most flagship phones, this isn’t as much of an issue, because they’re designed to “just work” with GSM carriers in the US. Budget phones, however, aren’t. You’ll need to look a little deeper at stuff like the “bands”–or specific data frequencies–the phone uses. Not every budget phone supports the right bands for every GSM network, and it can make things really confusing when you’re shopping around.

For example, let’s say you currently have an aging Samsung Galaxy SIII on AT&T, and you’re looking to replace it with a Motorola Moto E. There are two versions of the Moto E—one with support for 4G LTE, and one with 3G only. If you buy the wrong one, then you’re going to give up the high-speed LTE data that the Galaxy SIII has, replacing it with comparatively snail’s-paced 3G on the Moto E.

Fortunately, Motorola does a good job of differentiating between the two models, but not all manufacturers make it that clear, and certain carriers rely more heavily on certain mobile bands that not every cheap phone supports. For example, the phone in the above screenshot (Blu Vivo 5) uses LTE Bands 2, 4, and 7. A similar phone from Blu (the Vivo XL—seen below), uses LTE Bands 2, 4, 7, 12, and 17. Band 12 and 17 are particularly important for T-Mobile in certain parts of the country, and their omission on the Vivo 5 means some people may be left without LTE coverage.

Basically, just because a phone says that it’s ”4G LTE Compatible with T-Mobile“ doesn’t necessarily mean it will be compatible in all areas. It really takes some digging to figure out what bands are supported, then compare that to the bands that are used in your area. And if you’re trying to sort through the sea of cheap Android phones on Amazon, that can be a huge undertaking.

Budget Phones vs. Last-Generation Flagship Phones

Of course, budget Android phones aren’t the only way to save some money. You could also buy last year’s flagship phone, or even the year before’s, which would bring down the cost quite a bit. So which is better? Unfortunately, this isn’t such an easy answer, especially considering the rate that budget phones are progressing and bringing high-end features to low-end devices.

For example, two of the newest phones from budget phone maker Blu—the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL—both have USB Type C, a feature that’s otherwise only found on a small handful of top-tier devices. Similarly, the Huawei Honor 5X has a fingerprint reader that’s actually quite good; better than the flagships that introduced the feature, like the Samsung Galaxy S5. Again, usable fingerprint readers are just now becoming mainstream on top-end devices.

And all three of those phones cost less than $200 right now. High-end features in low-end phones…it’s a crazy world we live in.

Furthermore, an older flagship will probably not get any more updates, especially once it’s more than two years old. A cheap phone may not either, but it’s at least a little more likely to.
How do the Processors Compare?

Of course, you still have to consider the rest of the hardware. Is it better to have a two-generation-old processor, like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, or a modern budget model, like the aforementioned MediaTek 6753? In raw benchmark scores, the older processor still generally outscores the modern budget chip, but that doesn’t necessarily always translate into real-world usage—just because the Snapdragon 800 outscores the 6753 by 11,000 points in AnTuTu (38,298 vs. 49,389), does it really mean it offers 30 percent more power in a real-world scenario? Rarely. In most side-by-side comparisons, you’d have a hard time telling the difference between the two.

What About the Displays and Cameras?

We’ve already established that two-generation-old flagship processors are “faster” (on paper) than most current-generation budget chips, but what about the display tech and cameras? With the latter, the budget phone will more than likely have a better display than the older flagship model, simply because display tech is improving at a pace that allows much higher-quality panels to be produced at a lower cost. And while budget phones generally top out at around 1080p (for the time being, anyway), this generally translates to slightly better performance since there are fewer pixels for the CPU and GPU to push.

As mentioned earlier, the camera is one place where you might see an advantage of current-generation budget models. That one is very subjective, and it depends on the phone in question—for example, the S5 is going to have a better camera than something like the 2014 Moto X, despite being older. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to put a cut-and-dry rule on camera performance when comparing two phones, despite which price point they fall into. You’ll just have to look up reviews for the phones you’re interested in.

Overall, which is better? It depends a lot on the phone, and what’s important to you. An old flagship may look and feel a little better, and may come with a better camera–but it certainly won’t be getting any updates, where a newer device might.
The One Exception to All of This

With all that said, there is one general exception to most of the “rules” I’ve laid out here: Nexus phones. Google typically sells Nexus phones at more affordable prices in the first place, so they are more cost-effective than other high-end phones from the same generation when buying older models. At the time of writing, you can get the last-generation Nexus phone—the Motorola Nexus 6—for as little as $250 brand new. Aside from being arguably too big, the Nexus 6 is a great phone at that price, and will easily trump any other device at that price point. And best of all, since it’s a Nexus, it’s going to be supported by Google and get updates much longer than phones from other manufacturers.
So When Is a Budget Phone the Right Choice?

While I will admit that there’s never been a better time to buy into the budget scene–whether you’re getting a cheap current-gen phone or a last-gen flagship–there are times when it’s smarter than others.

If you aren’t a power user, or are looking to buy a phone for someone who isn’t, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to worry about updates, processor benchmarks, and the like. Ease of use and price are generally more important to those users, and Android’s newest budget handsets can often fit the bill perfectly. At the end of the day, if all you’re looking to do is text some friends, check Facebook, and play Candy Crush Saga, then there’s no need to waste a lot of money on a phone that has more than you need. Plus, you’ll probably need the cash you saved for in-app purchases to help get past that one level you’ve been stuck on for three weeks in Candy Crush. See? That’s me looking out for you.

But what if you are a power user? Here’s another scenario: you broke your main phone (I’m sorry), but you’re still paying on it. That’s a terrible situation to be in, as your carrier won’t allow you to finance another phone until the current one has been paid off. Instead of crying the sob of a broken man, you could just suck it up and drop a couple hundred on a budget model that will easily last until you’ve paid off your old phone and it’s time to grab the newest hotness. Alternatively, you can just take your kid’s phone and give him or her the cheaper phone—you won’t get any judgement from me.

That actually brings up another great argument for budget devices: kids. If you’ve got a pre-teen just dying for a phone, a more affordable model just makes sense. It’s their first (or second, third?) phone, and there’s a good chance they’ll break it anyway—kids are careless, uncoordinated, and just not as attentive as their adult counterparts, so these things happen. Why waste hundreds on a current flagship phone? There’s no point—at least not until they prove they can be responsible with the cheaper handset.

All that said: as much as I think the current budget market is in the best place it’s ever been, a cheap phone isn’t always the answer. The primary reason that you’d be looking at a budget model is, well, budget, so there’s no reason to even look down this path if your wallet can handle a current generation flagship. To put it clearly, a Galaxy S7 Edge, LG G5, or Nexus 6P is always going to outwork a cheaper handset—there’s just no question about it. Basically, if you can afford to spend more, do it. Looking at it from a long-term perspective, you’ll ultimately end up much better off.

But if you can’t, the budget market is strong, and getting stronger every day–so you’re in luck.

At the beginning of this article, I asked the question “are cheap Android phones worth it?” Two years ago, I would’ve laughed and said “absolutely not.” Today, however, we’re in a much better place technologically, and I feel like there is no place that is more clearly seen than the budget market. While current flagship phones are little more than iterative updates of their predecessors, the budget scene is growing by leaps and bounds. The performance and features that you can get for $200 in the current market is simply astounding on most counts, making this a much better time to buy a budget phone.

Of course, it’s not always the best choice, but that’s not for me to decide. Each situation is different and it’s ultimately up to you to decide what’s best for your usage.

Ubuntu 16.04 Makes Ubuntu Exciting Again

 Ubuntu hasn’t had the best reputation among Linux users over the past few years–with some even going so far as to call it “boring”. If you’ve been hesitant to try it out, then hold on to your seats–Ubuntu 16.04 “Xenial Xerus” is not only an exciting release, but one that has the potential to be a game changer for the Linux ecosystem.

Ubuntu first leaped into the Linux world in 2004 and with it, completely changing the face of Linux taking it from the days of “only usable by experienced geeks” to the era of “Linux for Human Beings”. Now, 12 years later, they just might be on the verge of repeating that lightning in a bottle that took it from a brand new small project to becoming the most popular distribution of Linux. Ubuntu 16.04 was released today, and with it comes a ton of improvements throughout the distro. There are many changes that improve the usability and experience for the end user as well as potential landmark changes that might pique the interest of even the most skeptical of developers.
The Unity Launcher Can Be Moved to the Bottom of Your Screen

Thanks to the Ubuntu Kylin team, users can now attach the Unity Launcher to the bottom of their screen instead of having to be forced to always have it on the left side. Believe it or not, it’s taken almost 6 years to get this basic feature.

There are a couple of ways to accomplish this, but the easiest way is through one command in the Terminal (though admittedly a fairly long command). Open up your terminal with Ctrl+Alt+T or from the Dash and run the following:gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

You can also revert back to the Left side if you decide later that you don’t like it by running:gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left

That’s all it takes.
Online Dash Results Are Off by Default, and Updates to the “apt” Command

There has been quite a bit of controversy for a couple of years over the online search results in Ubuntu’s Dash. Some people even went so far as to (inaccurately) call them “spyware”. Ubuntu 16.04 puts an end to that controversy by disabling the results by default.
GNOME Software Replaces Ubuntu Software Center

The Ubuntu Software Center was another blemish on Ubuntu’s name. It was slow, unreliable, and the overall user experience was lacking. Ubuntu 16.04 address this issue by replacing the Ubuntu Software Center with GNOME’s Software solution. Ubuntu adopting GNOME Software is a great sign of more community involvement from Canonical, and that they’re willing to include an alternative piece of software if it’s better overall.

Similarly, Canonical adopted a new Calendar app in Ubuntu 16.04–just another way they’re adopting better software from the GNOME project.

If you’re more of a terminal junkie, 16.04 also adds new features to the “apt” command so you can simplify your command-line package management even further than before. Ubuntu 16.04 sees the addition of apt autoremove which replaces apt-get autoremove and apt purge package(s) which replaces apt-get purge package(s).
Unity 7.4 Is the Smoothest Unity Experience Yet

I’ve been testing Ubuntu 16.04 and Unity 7.4 for quite some time now and I have to say, Unity 7.4 is by far the smoothest and best Unity experience I’ve had. I was a hold out for the days of 12.04’s Qt-based Unity, but I’m glad to see that Ubuntu 16.04 has adopted its best features. Here are the most notable changes arriving in Unity 7.4:
  • Shortcuts for Session Management such as restart, shutdown, etc from the Unity Dash
  • Icons appear in launcher while loading applications
  • Ability to move the Unity launcher to the bottom of the screen
  • Online Dash Results are disabled by default
  • App Menus can now be set to ‘Always Show’
  • New scroll bars in Unity Dash
  • External storage/Trash now display number of windows open
  • Quicklist (Jumplist) added to Workspace Switcher
  • Ability to Format a drive within a Unity Quicklist (great time saver but be careful)
  • Alt+{num} can now be used to open External storage items similar to Logo+{num} for opening applications
  • Ubuntu themes have improved Client Side Decorations support.

That’s a lot of good stuff.
ZFS Is Supported by Default in Ubuntu 16.04

ZFS is a very popular filesystem due to its reliability with large data sets, and it has been a very hot topic for the Linux community for years. Canonical has decided that ZFS support is necessary, so Ubuntu 16.04 has added support for ZFS by default. ZFS is not enabled by default, however, which is intentional. Since ZFS is not necessary for the majority of users, it fits best in large scale deployments. So while this is very cool, it’s not going to affect most people.
Ubuntu Snappy Has Potential to Change the Landscape of Linux

Finally, Ubuntu 16.04 introduces Ubuntu Snappy to the desktop, a brand new package management solution that has potential to change the landscape of Linux.

Linux-based operating systems come with many different types of release structures, but the two most common are Fixed Releases (aka stable releases) and Rolling Releases. Both of these common structures have pros and cons: Fixed Releases give you rock solid base system, but often with outdated applications that have to be supplemented with something like PPAs. Rolling Releases get you the software updated as soon as possible, whenever a new version is released–along with all of the latest bugs. Ubuntu Snappy is a new release structure that has all of the benefits of both systems combined into one.

Think of Snappy as an alternative to .deb files and PPAs. It’s a new form of app distribution that lets developers send you the latest version of their apps–in the form of “snaps”–as soon as they’re ready. They’re much easier and quicker for developers to push out, and you–the user–don’t have to go hunting for a PPA if the app isn’t included with Ubuntu’s default repository packages. And, if one release is buggy, it’s very easy to roll back to the last stable version.

In addition, snaps install differently than the traditional .deb files you’re used to. Snaps install as “read-only” mountable image based applications, which means you don’t have to worry about whether an app was packaged for Ubuntu 16.04, 16.10, or any other version–that Snap will work on any version of Ubuntu that supports Snaps.

Snappy on the Desktop is still in the early stages, so you won’t be switching to snaps entirely with Ubuntu 16.04. But the groundwork has been laid, and snaps should start to become more common over time. In fact, Ubuntu will be releasing a “Snap Store” of sorts in the future, likely using GNOME Software, making it easier to discover and install apps using Snappy.
Oh Snap! Excitement Is in the Air

I don’t think I’ve been more excited for a new release of Ubuntu since I first started using Linux, many years ago. The potential of Ubuntu Snappy alone has me smiling as I write this very paragraph, but add that to the rest of the changes coming in Ubuntu 16.04 and I’d say Ubuntu has become anything but boring. What do you think of this new release? Is my excitement contagious? Will you be giving Ubuntu 16.04 a try? Let me know in the comments thread.

What is Alphabet, Google's new company?

Google just announced a major overhaul of its corporate structure.

As part of the change, the company that used to be called Google going to become a new holding company called Alphabet.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are recognized for their efforts at the conclusion of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, September 22, 2006. Former US President Bill Clinton's annual event brings together world leaders from business, government and philanthropy to try to solve world issues.

Shareholders will get one Alphabet share for every Google share they previously owned. The executives in charge of Alphabet will be the same execs in charge of Google today -- CEO Larry Page, President Sergey Brin, Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, CFO Ruth Porat, and chief counsel David Drummond.

Alphabet includes the following entities:

A smaller company called Google, headed by CEO Sundar Pichai, that includes the company's core businesses. Those businesses: "search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android and the related technical infrastructure."

Other 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," which "will be managed separately from the Google business."

G is for Google.

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.

We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven't stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.

We've long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.

Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet. I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.

What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren't very related.

Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We'll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we'll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

Here's how the transition will happen:

Later this year, Google intends to implement a holding company reorganization (the "Alphabet Merger"), which will result in Alphabet owning all of the capital stock of Google. Alphabet will initially be a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Google. Pursuant to the Alphabet Merger, a newly formed entity ("Merger Sub"), a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet and an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Google, will merge with and into Google, with Google surviving as a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Each share of each class of Google stock issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Alphabet Merger will automatically convert into an equivalent corresponding share of Alphabet stock, having the same designations, rights, powers and preferences and the qualifications, limitations and restrictions as the corresponding share of Google stock being converted.

If you have any queries/feedback, please write it in comments section below OR mail me here : Snehal[at]Techproceed[dot]com

Happy Googling... Ooops  Alphabetting  :-)