Google’s surprise Monday afternoon announcement that it is rebranding itself as Alphabet—a new company that will serve as the existing tech giant’s parent company—has much of the Internet throwing its arms up in confusion. Among the puzzlement and surprise are also a few sighs of indignation. That’s because Alphabet, besides simply being a common word that trips up search engines, is also already the name or theme of many brands around the world.
Here’s how Google co-founder Larry Page explains the new name: “We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations.” Others probably had that exact thought when they launched their own alphabet-themed brands years prior. Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm, uses an “a-z” motif. E-commerce giant Amazon has a subtle “a-z” reference in its logo.
It gets even more overt: The word is explicitly used by many businesses around the world. Alphabet is the existing name of more than one fashion company. It’s also an accessories business, a specialty retailer, an international car management company, a signage company, a design firm, and a hotel. It's the name of a German software company, stylized as alfabet. And let’s not forget all the various alphabet-related products out there, the most famous of which is probably Campbell’s popular alphabet soup.
All the hullabaloo over Google’s new brand has also sparked some dry amusement on Twitter: An account pretending to be owned by Google amassed more than 8,000 followers in the hours after Google's announcement. (Note that the L in the handle is actually a capital I.) Other accounts quickly jumped into the fray as well:
The caption Oracle v. Alphabet is somehow more accurate.— Parker Higgins (@xor) August 10, 2015
Now every time you sing the #Alphabet song you have to credit Google— Karolina Johansson (@LinaLingonberry) August 10, 2015
Well, that was an interesting way to end a Monday...— Chris Andrikanich (@alphabet) August 10, 2015
My Twitter handle is now for sale. The bidding will start at $5 million. #Alphabet— LeanderAlphabet (@LeanderAlphabet) August 10, 2015
Leander Schaerlaeckens, a writer who uses the Twitter account @LeanderAlphabet, remarked that he may have to change his handle soon. “Ideally, someone by the name of Leander actually working for Alphabet will try to buy it from me in exchange for a nice stock package,” he said. “Here's hoping.”
Though Twitter's official policies prohibit the sale or purchase of user names, ReadWrite reports that users in the past have tried to buy Twitter handles on the black market for as much as $50,000.