Google parent company Alphabet has moved its Jigsaw technology incubator under Google management, The Information reports. It’s the first former Alphabet company to be shifted under Google since Sergey Brin and Larry Page stepped down from their management roles in December. Since the two were behind the creation of Alphabet in 2015, The Information suggests it may be a sign that Alphabet has outlived its usefulness as a holding company.
Formerly called Google Ideas, Jigsaw was focused on online security issues like harassment and misinformation. When the company changed the name from Google Ideas to Jigsaw and refocused it from being a web and policy think tank to a tech incubator, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt wrote that it would “tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks.” Last week, Jigsaw unveiled its new Assembler tool, which is aimed at helping journalists more easily spot deepfakes and doctored images.
Jigsaw CEO Jared Cohen is still with the company, which will continue to exist as an independent entity under Google. While Google confirmed that Jigsaw was officially under Google, it would not comment on the future of Alphabet, The Information reported.
Two other former Alphabet companies have been moved back under Google’s umbrella in the past two years: home smart device company Nest rejoined Google in 2018 after three years as an Alphabet subsidiary, and cybersecurity firm Chronicle was folded back into Google last year.
Jigsaw was categorized under “other bets” in Alphabet earnings statements, which also includes autonomous vehicle division Waymo and AI company DeepMind Technologies. The revenue for the “other bets” segment was $172 million in Alphabet’s fourth quarter earnings report on February 3rd, which is just 1 percent of total revenue for the quarter.