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Google Dumps Its Think Tank

Douglas A. McIntyre
Google Dumps Its Think Tank

Part of the transition of Google to Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) was management's argument that disclosure of the activity of the units of the company would help investors gain insight into how the units work and spend money, beyond its huge search engine unit.

Alphabet has dumped one of the businesses that has the least value to shareholders, its think tank dubbed Google Ideas. It has a new name, Jigsaw, and a new home, far from Alphabet's other businesses, almost all of which are more promising.

Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who has rarely spoken for the company since co-founder Larry Page became chief executive, wrote in a blog post:

Today we’re announcing the expansion of Google Ideas, Google’s think tank, as a technology incubator called Jigsaw. The team’s mission is to use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks.

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Many of the team’s current products aim to protect access to information, including Project Shield, which harnesses Google’s computing infrastructure to protect independent voices from DDoS attacks; contributions to open-source efforts like uProxy, which lets people share access to the free and open internet; and Password Alert, which helps protect against phishing.

As Jigsaw is moved aside, so apparently is the commercial pursuit of fighting large digital threats, which ought to be a core business.

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