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Alphabet Launches New Company to Hawk Cybersecurity Services

Chronicle is latest unit to spin out of research lab X. Exec touts speed, security but no details on clients and plans.

Mark Bergen (Bloomberg) -- Google has a new sister: Parent company Alphabet Inc. announced the formation of a new subsidiary company, called Chronicle, focused on cybersecurity.

Chronicle was formed in 2016 inside of X, Alphabet’s experimental lab that has produced its driverless car effort, Waymo, and projects on drones, internet connectivity and the Google Glass headset. In the announcement Wednesday, the new company stressed the speed and data-storage capacity it would offer companies looking to fix security issues, which Chronicle said gives it an edge over other companies in the cybersecurity market. Chronicle provided no further details on its business model or technical products.

Stephen Gillett, the unit’s chief executive officer, wrote in a blog post that Chronicle’s advantage would come from Alphabet’s gigantic computer infrastructure and machine learning, a popular type of artificial intelligence.

"We’ll be able to help organizations see their full security picture in much higher fidelity than they currently can," he wrote.

On a call with reporters, Gillett said the company is testing an early version of its services with some Fortune 500 firms, but he declined to name them. "We are absolutely committed to staying ahead of cyber-criminals and we have the resources to see it through," he said.

Gillett formerly served as chief operating officer of security-software company Symantec Corp. He said he joined X in early 2016 and began working on the project that would become Chronicle.

Unlike most other X efforts, the latest unit will sell services to other companies -- another indication of the shift toward enterprise markets for the tech giant, famed for outrageous "moonshots." In the past year, Alphabet has trimmed several auxiliary projects unrelated to core internet services and plowed money into its cloud-computing business.

Gillett noted that Chronicle’s unique data-storage assets would win over customers. But he didn’t say if his firm would be selling offerings in tandem with Google’s cloud storage service. "We’re not discussing the relationships," he said.

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