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Alphabet Inc – Google’s new parent company – will make the company’s activities “cleaner and more accountable”, said its CEO Larry Page in a blog post announcing the news.

Larry Page, Google’s original founders, admitted that from the outset, some of Google’s interests “might seem very speculative or even strange” for the firm.

“We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super-excited about,” he said.

More detail of the surprise restructure is expected in the coming weeks, but here’s a brief guide to Alphabet’s core areas of activity so far:

Google itself will continue to exist as a subsidiary of Alphabet under the leadership of a new CEO, but long-term Google exec, Sundar Pichai.

It will include Google’s most obvious – and profitable – internet outlets such as search, Maps, YouTube, Chrome and the Android mobile phone platform.Google Alphabet Inc

Google X: This is Google’s research and development lab, where projects like the driverless car, drone delivery service Project Wing and Project Loon, an ambitious idea to connect rural communities to the net via a global network of high-altitude balloons, are born and nurtured.

Last year pharmaceutical giant Novartis agreed a deal to work with Google X on a smart contact lens for people with diabetes, designed to measure the level of glucose in the wearer’s tears and communicate the information to a mobile phone or computer.

The division is notoriously tight-lipped about much of its work but its web page lists 20 different research areas including artificial intelligence, data mining, software engineering and cryptography.

It refers to some of its more outlandish projects as “moonshots” – a Google X code word for big-thinking propositions.

Calico: Google launched a separate health-focused research and development company in 2013, with Larry Page announcing in a blog post that its work would be based around the research areas of “health and well-being, in particular the challenge of ageing and associated diseases”.

“We are scientists from the fields of medicine, drug development, molecular biology, and genetics,” says the company on its website.

“Through our research we’re aiming to devise interventions that slow ageing and counteract age‑related diseases.”

Nest: Google bought thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in early 2014.

Nest’s first major product, the thermostat, was able to learn about users’ behavior and decipher whether a building was occupied, but it has since branched out into other areas of smart homeware.

This has included, most recently, a camera that senses movement in a user’s home and alerts them via a smartphone app.

Google Fiber is a superfast broadband and TV-on-demand service, promising speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second. It’s currently only available in certain parts of the US, including Atlanta, Nashville and Salt Lake City.

Google Robotics: It is unclear whether Google’s robotics work will also become a more separate entity under Alphabet Inc.

Google snapped up six robotics companies in 2013 – including military robot-maker Boston Dynamics which developed Cheetah, the world’s fastest running robot.

However the tech giant has been clear that none of its robots will be used for military means.

Investment: In addition to its acquisitions, Google has two investment arms – Google Ventures and Google Capital.

Google Ventures claims to have made more than 300 investments alone, with recipients including Uber, Periscope, and Fitstar (which has since been bought by fitness tracker form FitBit).

Google is working on a technology to detect cancer and heart attack.

The technology combines disease-detecting nanoparticles, which would enter a patient’s bloodstream via a swallowed pill, with a wrist-worn sensor.

The idea is to identify slight changes in the person’s biochemistry that could act as an early warning system.

The work is still at an early stage.

Early diagnosis is the key to treating disease. Many cancers, such as pancreatic, are detected only after they have become untreatable and fatal.

There are marked differences between cancerous and healthy tissues.

Google’s ambition is to constantly monitor the blood for the unique traces of cancer, allowing diagnosis long before any physical symptoms appear.

The project is being conducted by the search company’s research unit, Google X, which is dedicated to investigating potentially revolutionary innovations.

It marks the company’s latest shift into the medical sector following its work on glucose-measuring contact lenses for patients with diabetes and the acquisition of a start-up that developed a spoon to counteract the tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Google’s technology combines disease-detecting nanoparticles, which would enter a patient's bloodstream via a swallowed pill, with a wrist-worn sensor

Google’s technology combines disease-detecting nanoparticles, which would enter a patient’s bloodstream via a swallowed pill, with a wrist-worn sensor

Google has also bought stakes in Calico, an anti-ageing research company, and 23andMe, which offers personal genetic-testing kits.

The diagnostic project is being led by Dr. Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist who previously developed a cheap HIV test that has become widely used.

Google is designing a suite of nanoparticles which are intended to match markers for different conditions.

They could be tailored to stick to a cancerous cell or a fragment of cancerous DNA.

Or they could find evidence of fatty plaques about to break free from the lining of blood vessels. These can cause a heart attack or stroke if they stop the flow of blood.

Another set would constantly monitor chemicals in the blood.

High levels of potassium are linked to kidney disease. Google believes it will be possible to construct porous nanoparticles that alter color as potassium passes through.

Unattached nanoparticles would move differently in a magnetic field from those clumped around a cancer cell.

In theory, software could then provide a diagnosis by studying their movements.

As part of the project, the researchers have also explored ways of using magnetism to concentrate the nanoparticles temporarily in a single area.

The tech company’s ambition is ultimately to create a wristband that would take readings of the nanoparticles via light and radio waves one or more times a day.

The basic principles are sound and mirror the work already taking place around the world.

Many research groups are looking at bits of cancer floating in the blood as a better way of diagnosing the disease and also to assess which tumors are more aggressive.

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