The problem with Google's new Alphabet announcement

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 11 August 2015 09:50
Science and Tech

Google has announced a restructuring with the launch of a new parent company - Alphabet Inc - which will oversee its existing companies such as YouTube, Android and, of course, the original Google.com.

For customers hoping to find out a bit more about the new company, the most obvious thing to do would be to head to its aforementioned search engine.

But as many have pointed out with glee, a search for Alphabet led to the homepage for a subsidiary of car-maker BMW (whose servers, incidentally, are being overloaded with collateral web traffic) as the first result - at least in the earliest hours after the announcement.

Picture: Alphabet.com

With Alphabet.com out of the question, Google, or Alphabet Inc, has plumped for abc.xyz as its new homepage. Picked for its neat play on words? Perhaps. But as the Washington Post surmises, it may also be because wresting Alphabet.com from BMW - a huge multinational - would've been hugely expensive.

The problems for Alphabet don't stop there however. The company seems to have missed a few key other areas when setting up its new online presence.

Not only does the BMW subsidiary own Facebook.com/Alphabet, but the Twitter handle @alphabet is owned by a "Dad. Husband. Self-proclaimed geek" from Cleveland, Ohio. The handle @AlphabetInc meanwhile is a small fashion label in Indonesia.

And ironically for a company that specialises in web search, it has apparently made a quite fundamental error in its SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy.

As Dan Barker highlights in the tweet above, Alphabet has failed to "canonicalise" its subdomains - which re-directs all the different versions of a website's URL into one central web address to avoid duplication - thus limiting its authority on search engines such as, um, Google.

More: Google inadvertently published a load of data on 'right to be forgotten' requests

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