In a rare public appearance on 2 November, Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page explained why he wanted to create a new structure for the company he set up with Sergey Brin almost two decades ago.
Whimsically addressing how the name came about, he credited Brin with the idea. "It's only fair since I chose Google," he said during a Q&A session with Fortune editor Alan Murray at the magazine's Global Forum 2015 in San Francisco.
Page said the new company would operate a little bit like a venture capital firm – a little bit like Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who Page admires. There were aspects of Berkshire to Alphabet, he said, but it was too early to tell how the new company would function.
He also tackled a question on Google's efforts in China, saying: "We've always had operations in China ... we'd like to do more." He said he had delegated that question to Sundar Pichai, the new CEO of Google, which is now Alphabet's search engine unit.
Page co-founded the Mountain View, California, based company with Stanford classmate Brin in 1998. Since then, Google has grown from a popular search engine to Alphabet, a far-reaching conglomerate employing more than 40,000 people worldwide.
He has also taken a step back from being the face of the company, largely due to a chronic medical condition affecting his vocal cords. He has appeared at only a handful of events over the past few years.
At Monday's event he touted Project Loon, an effort to deliver internet service from connected air balloons. Google announced last week that Loon would begin testing the service in Indonesia as early as next year.
"Think about how cell phones have changed everyone's life. Think about how having your cell phone work anywhere in the world can change your life," Page said.
Aside from Google, Alphabet's other businesses include Google X, connected home products maker Nest, venture capital arm Google Ventures and Google Capital, which invests in larger tech companies.
Asked about what the creation of Alphabet meant to him, and what he would want his legacy to be, his response was straightforward: "For me it's really, can we push the envelope for what's possible for an innovative company with large resources."