Google’s new parent company Alphabet should tackle food next

With the Alphabet reorganization under way, it’s time to look to the frontiers the former Googlers might take on

Google with burgers for “O”s

Now that Google has reorganized into Alphabet, an over-arching conglomerate of separate businesses, there’s a little more room to dream about what the company could get into in the future. Indeed, such is the point of the reorganization.

So how about this: Google as a fast-food company? Alphabet could some day oversee a veritable McGoogle.

It’s a strange idea, but the rationale and opportunity are there and the company is already equipped with or working on some of the pieces.

To start with, there’s Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s obvious interest in revolutionizing food. Two years ago, Brin revealed that he had shelled out €250,000 of his own money to fund the creation of a synthetic hamburger. The project went well by all accounts and the resultant burger passed taste tests with flying colours.

The hard work is done—all that remains is to bring the cost of the meat down to less than the real thing, which may not be that hard to do if the demand for and cost of beef keeps skyrocketing, especially in China.

“If it succeeds there, it can be really transformative for the world,” Brin said at the time.

Speaking of China, the country’s fast-food market is undergoing a shift as internet companies Alibaba and Tencent get involved in delivery. The companies are giving the likes of McDonald’s and KFC a run for their money by teaming bike couriers with mobile apps that allow customers to order food from a host of different restaurants.

Mobile apps sounds like something Google might do well. Tying them to self-driving cars could also work. Oh hey, Google is working on those as well.

With traditional fast-food giants such as McDonald’s in freefall, the market is ripe for change—and for newcomers. And with food demand growing quickly globally, it’s the sort of large problem that Google’s founders love.

Synthetic burgers ordered on a mobile phone and delivered by robot cars? That sure sounds like a food revolution.