(Disclosure: I currently work for Google, but these are my personal views.)
Google’s refactoring into a conglomerate is interesting. One way of looking at Larry Page is as a fund manager: his job is to allocate capital. But a fund manager with firing power. That’s an interesting combination of roles. If anything, I would trust a proven entrepreneur and innovator over a finance guy. Larry knows first-hand what works and what doesn’t, how to succeed at scale, and how to change the world. There are few people with such 10x thinking. Certainly not my fund manager.
Another aspect of a conglomerate is that there are less likely to be multiple redundant teams working on the same idea. I believe in the free market, and competition is great, but only when different teams are pursuing substantially different approaches to a problem. Many of the companies we see today are me-too companies, doing essentially the same thing as their competitors. Google doesn’t have a second browser team competing with Chrome. In that sense, a conglomerate is more efficient than the market.
It will be interesting to see where Alphabet goes.