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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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G is for Google

 
少し遅れましたが、グーグルが新たに持株会社を新設したことについてです。Alphabet.Inc.にはLarry Pageからのメッセージが書かれていますが、アドレスもhttps://abc.xyzとアルファベットにちなんだ面白いものになっていますね。

G is for Google
As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago, “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make “smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.” From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.

We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.

We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.

Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet. I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.


最後の方にAlphabetという会社名を選らんだ理由を二つあげています。

For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google—the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products—the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.

言語を学んでいる者としては、投資家向けのAlpha-bet というリップサービスよりも、We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search!(Alphabetという名前を気に入ったのは、文字の集まりを意味し、言語を象徴しているからです。言語は人類の発明で最も重要なものの一つです。それに、Google検索での結果表示の核となるものです。)という主張が気になります。

アルファベットを学ぶ時に G is for Gorillaのように学んでいくことは以前ブログで紹介しました。だからこそ、プレスリリースのタイトルがG is for Googleとなっているんでしょうね。下記に紹介している動画Learning ABC AlphabetやAlphabet Songでは、G is for Gorilla / G is for Girl / G is for GrapeのようにGを紹介していますが。。。





この会社名Alphabetという名前のインプリケーションについて書いている記事がワシントンポストにありました。

The big cultural debate simmering beneath Google’s new Alphabet name
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By Brian Fung August 11 at 1:55 PM

Google's new parent company has a clever name: Alphabet. It's a term designed to evoke the ingenuity of the human spirit. And it makes no secret of Alphabet's expansive ambitions: It wants to guide humanity forward, to connect everything and everyone, to wrap its arms around the world's people and bring them all into the future. All of them, it seems, except for the more than 1.3 billion people on earth who don't actually use an alphabet as their primary writing system.

この記事ではアルファベットを使っていない国もあり、その最大の国が中国だと指摘します。

Some cultures employ alternatives to fully fledged alphabets, such as the syllabary-using Cherokee. Others, such as the Japanese, mix syllabaries with complex logographic characters. But the biggest country to use something other than an alphabet that you or I might recognize is China.

Intentionally or not, Larry Page and Sergey Brin effectively wound up glossing over China when they rolled out their new corporate brand and said "it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations."

The Chinese might object by saying their writing system represents language, too, even if it doesn't use letters. You see, China's use of a logographic script is pretty much the complete opposite of an alphabet. You can think of an alphabet as a set of individually meaningless building blocks that, when you put them together, create sounds, words and meaning. In Chinese, every character, every building block, already has its own self-contained sound and meaning. Imagine if the letter "b" referred to the sun.


さらには、アルファベットこそが最も優れた言語体系だと西洋至上主義につながる思想を見出そうとしています。

The idea that there is a "best" writing system naturally implies that others are inferior, and critics of this theory have argued that this is an unhelpfully Western-centric bias.

"The alphabetic literacy theory has asserted the West's permanent superiority over the East due to the psychological and cultural effects of the alphabet," wrote Paul Grossweiler, a professor of communication at the University of Maine, in 2004. "Science, philosophy, logic, rationality, democracy, and monotheism are said to be inextricably linked to the alphabet in this theory."


個人的にはこういった「西洋VS東洋」の対立を煽るような内容よりも、記事冒頭にあったようなGoogleの並々ならぬ野心の方を解明してもらいたいです。Alphabetが言語を表すなら、世界中の全員が言語を使っているように、世界中の人にAlphabet社を浸透させたいということかもしれないのですから。英語にはfrom A to Zというイディオムもありますからねえ。

(オックスフォード)
from A to Z
including everything there is to know about something
He knew his subject from A to Z.
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Yuta

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