Internet giant’s new parent Alphabet a sharp move that will liberate founders

Hands up everyone who saw what was coming with Google? Namely, the massive restructuring of the internet giant with the market capitalisation of $672 billion.

I didn't, and it seems nobody else outside Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's inner circle did either.

There you have it though, Google has become a subsidiary of Alphabet, a new company set up and run by Page and Brin, with Eric Schmidt hopping aboard as the chairman.

It's a bold move, typical of Google, which may be connected to the internet and which earns vast amounts of money from networked users everywhere, but isn't really part of anyone's life.


Instead, Google is a "black box", an internet of its own, similar to Facebook, and with different rules and mores to the rest of the world.

And different it is: even the domain for Alphabet,, is eccentric compared with ye olde .com and .net names.

That said, Alphabet is probably a brilliant idea.

Google earns the money, as a serious company that's now led by Sundar Pichai while, under the Alphabet umbrella, Google investors won't be frightened by the Crazy Larry and Zany Sergey Show. And the two multi-billionaire founders still have 77 other moonshot companies to play with, so they won't get bored.

This means they can be not-for-profit, make a loss and be kept running as long as Google itself provides.

You have to admire the chutzpah of Brin and Page, and their masterful corporate creativity.

Sundar as Google chief executive should ensure that the money keeps rolling in to feed Brin and Page's projects too.

With fewer blue-sky-project distractions around, Google is likely to become more focused under Pichai and so more capable of taking on the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Apple.


Who knows, maybe Google will become sharp enough to come up with the ultimate product - a social network that'll rival Facebook. It has already started to dismantle the unused Google+. Will Pichai be that good a chief executive?

Small speaker big on sound

Peripheral maker Logitech's Ultimate Ears subsidiary has been churning out some good audio gear that's small but with big sound and great design.

The newish UE MegaBoom follows that pattern and provides surprising audio quality with solid bass from a little package in bold colours - the local Logitech office sent me a red MegaBoom to try out and it certainly stands out.

As it happens, there are several "boom" products in the UE portable speakers range, and the Megaboom appears to be aimed at younger pool-partying audiences, which is why it's waterproof, rated IPX7, or the same as Apple Watch. It's well built and I expect the MegaBoom will survive reasonably serious parties, wet or dry.

Interestingly, there's no MegaBoomer model aimed at wealthy, older, property-owning ravers who can afford pools for parties, which is a bit of a miss, but I digress.

The MegaBoom is designed for Apple iPhones and iPads mainly, and there's a free app that lets you update the firmware in the speaker (yes, it's come to this), control the volume and equaliser with three presets, and turn the device on thanks to the "Smart Bluetooth" wireless control feature.

Ultimate Ears' MegaBoom boasts 360-degree sound projection.
Ultimate Ears' MegaBoom boasts 360-degree sound projection.

Even though the MegaBoom is said to be Apple i-device specific, it seems to work just fine with Google Android devices.

There's also a UE MegaBoom app available in the Google Play Store that works the same as the Apple iOS equivalent.

You can also set an alarm and wake up to MegaBoom music and pair one device with another for stereo or double sound. I had only one MegaBoom, so I couldn't try out the double-up feature, but a single device with its 360-degree sound projection was pretty impressive, especially if you tweaked the equaliser a bit and used a cable.

Bluetooth audio using Apple and Samsung smartphones was good too, but not quite as defined as over a cable. I doubt that anyone would notice that in a party situation, though.

A large volume control and power and Bluetooth buttons are the only controls on the device, and you don't need to use them once the MegaBoom is paired with an app-installed phone.

Battery life (you charge the MegaBoom with a supplied USB cable and wall-wart) was great. UE says it'll last 20 hours at least, and that seems accurate.

Not so good is the fairly high price - $399 retail. You can get a bit off the RRP if you shop around, but not much, and the MegaBoom isn't cheaper overseas either, a look at Amazon showed.

High price apart, the MegaBoom is a great portable speaker that's easy to use and provides decent sound.