Google has become a generic term for searching for something on the world-wide web, regardless of which search engine you may be using. In 2006, both the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary added the word "google" as a verb. Certainly, no-one can deny the enormous impact that Google has made, and continues to make, on the fast-paced world of technology since it started out in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. The stock market listed company is now located in an impressive complex of buildings known as Googleplex, in Mountain View, Santa Clara Country, California.

In addition to its most readily recognized function as an internet search engine, Google also generates considerable revenue from advertising on its free-to-user email service, social networking facilities, video-sharing services and online mapping. Recent innovations from Google include a mobile phone operating system and open source web browser.

In 2008, Google’s total assets were valued at US$31.768 billion, with close to 20,000 employees on its payroll. The multi-billion dollar corporation has acquired key assets during its decade-long history, including Keyhole in 2004, the developer of a product which evolved into Google Earth. YouTube was acquired in late 2006 with the acquisition of JotSpot following soon after. In 2007, Google bought DoubleClick for a reported US$3.1 billion, and went on to acquire GrandCentral and Postini later that same year. The year 2009 saw Google purchase On2Technologies and Teracent.

Google has entered into a diverse range of partnerships since 2005 which has further strengthened its position in the tech sector. These include partnering with the NASA Ames Research Center to facilitate research into fascinating fields such as nanotechnology abd distributed computing. Other partnerships and investments include collaborating with Sun Microsystems, AOL, Microsoft, Nokia, Ericsson and MySpace. The product range offered by Google is extensive and innovative, while placing emphasis on its social responsibility.

As we head into 2010, Google is listed both on NASDAQ (GOOG) and the London Stock Exchange (GGEA) and is consistently considered to be a worthwhile addition to any investor’s portfolio.

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