On Alphabet's third-quarter earnings call, multiple investors asked how Google will continue to capitalize on search ads as it moves toward voice search through Google Home and Google Assistant products. If consumers are asking a screen-less device to look something up, there's no ad for them to see. What will voice ads sound like? Will they draw the same kind of money that display and video ads do? Google CEO Sundar Pichai says only that his team will be thoughtful about it.
Another question that popped up: Is the Alphabet structure good for retaining top talent? Alphabet changed its stock-based compensation this year so that it could rise or dip based on the division's performance. Employees in some of Alphabet's more daring endeavors might not be keen to take on that risk. Questioning Alphabet's ability to retain key talent isn't off base. This year, Otto, a self-driving truck startup composed of 15 former Google Maps and autonomous vehicle project employees, was acquired by Uber for $680 million. On the call, Pichai said he's comfortable with how the company approaches creating a culture of innovation. RR