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A seat on Alphabet board another milestone in Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s glittering career

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Under the Indian American’s stewardship, Google has registered impressive growth in the past 21 months.

Sundar Pichai (Courtesy of twitter)

Sundar Pichai, who took charge as the CEO of Google 21 months ago, has been named as a member of the board of directors of Alphabet, the parent company that runs the search engine giant and other affiliate businesses.

It was no doubt a promotion for the 45-year-old Indian American, as clearly stated by Larry Page, the CEO of Alphabet and one of the co-founders of Google, while making the announcement.

“Sundar has been doing a great job as Google’s CEO, driving strong growth, partnerships, and tremendous product innovation,” the Google cofounder said in a statement on Monday. “I really enjoy working with him and I’m excited that he is joining the Alphabet board.”

Whereas several Alphabet initiatives, among them the fiber project and self-driving cars, have been treading on difficult waters, Google, under Pichai, has been quite steady.

Google’s stocks registered an increase of 57 percent under Pichai’s stewardship. Its stocks closed at $980.34 on July 24, 2017 — the day his elevation was announced — up from $626.91 on October 2, 2017, the day he took over as the CEO.

Google is still the core revenue generator for Alphabet, and its performance under him has brightened the Indian American CEO’s profile.

Even though Alphabet was launched to give a fillip to “moonshot” projects such as the Calico, DeepMind, Google Fiber and self-driving cars, these initiatives are moving at a sluggish pace. Pichai’s presence on the Alphabet board might help the company rejuvenate these projects.

The IIT and Stanford grad’s vision toward moving into hardware business had proved decisive as Google came up with top notch devices such as Pixel smartphones, AI assistant-powered smart speaker and Google Home, which has helped obtain Google a larger space in the tech arena.

Commendably, these innovations were ideated and implemented successfully within a time span of just one-to-two years after Pichai’s promotion as Google’s CEO.

At the moment, Alphabet is facing intense competition from its rivals such as Amazon and Microsoft. Though the company says it is making a 20 percent growth yearly, it is not yet the market leader. As a company that has been valued at $680 billion and eyeing more than $100 billion profit this year, there is a need for a someone like Pichai to accelerate the growth rate.

For those wondering why such an important decision was taken in haste, just look at the figures of Google’s core business areas – Ad, Mobile, Video, Cloud AI.

Google’s advertising revenue rose 18 percent last year to $22.7 billion, driven by a 52-percent rise in paid clicks. Porat spun the rise in TAC costs — equal to 22 percent of revenue, versus 21 percent a year earlier. Approximately, $50 billion, or 67 percent of Google’s digital ad revenue, is expected to be generated through mobile in 2017.

Some 5 billion people are visiting YouTube each month, spending an average of 60 minutes a day watching its videos, which is a moon-shot away from the video engagement that its immediate rival Facebook is getting. “YouTube is scaling really well globally,” Pichai said. “Just like search did.”

Google’s “other revenue” fields such as Google Play, hardware, and its cloud business displayed a steady growth of 42 percent last quarter to $3.09 million. Pichai said there were more than $500 million new cloud deals this year when compared to a year ago, a three-fold increase. Google also added new cloud regions in London, Singapore, and Sydney.

Pichai has been a great proponent of machine learning inside Google, and this area showed an impressive revenue growth in recent times. Pichai himself once said “We believe we have a compelling runway here. Our revenue growth and Alphabet structure give us both the opportunity and confidence to invest in our businesses for the long-term.”

Within Google, the rise of Pichai — who was born in Madurai and grew up in Chennai — has been meteoric. Since joining the tech giant in 2004, he has headed a plethora of product, engineering and research efforts for various Google products and platforms. He has been the brain behind a number of successful company projects, such as the  Android, Chrome, Apps, YouTube, Maps and Search, all headed by him.

The Google Chrome browser, one of the consumer products developed under his stewardship, is used by over a billion people now.

When he was named as the CEO of Google in 2015, it was seen as a reward for his dedication and workmanship. Back then it was announced that that he will be work closely with co-founders Page and Sergey Brin, who would be concentrating on the progress of the parent company, Alphabet.

Now a seat on the Alphabet board is a reward for Pichai’s successful stewardship of Google and yet another milestone in his glittering career.

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