Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) has long been seen as a country club among tech companies, a place where growth and profits rain from its cloud effortlessly. Google stock is as reliable as can be.
Based on the company's recent moves, however, those days are over. I got a clue at a recent community meeting where police said they no longer use Google Maps because the company is charging for it, and that they're going to a free open source solution instead.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Google looks to be building a complete ecosystem around its iconic brand, as it seeks to reduce its dependence on advertising.
Google Stock and Real World Sales
Yelp isn't the only Web competitor Google is looking to kill off. It's also going after privately-held Cold Brew Labs with a new image search display that looks an awful lot like that company's Pinterest.
The update is aimed at bringing more business to Google Shopping, which competes directly with Amazon.Com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Google is also targeting Amazon with its Google Home devices, which compete with the Amazon Echo.
A new version now speaks Spanish and it plans to support 30 languages by the end of the year. And then there's the Google Cloud, which continues to challenge Amazon with increased storage.
Google is targeting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ) by quietly improving its Android phone operating system, speeding file transfers , adding Google Lens capability to its latest phones, and integrating personal data through Google Assistant.
Google is also upgrading Mail, part of its G Suite of productivity software that competes with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT ) for corporate accounts. Corporate users had said it lacks the features of Microsoft's Exchange e-mail program.
Trying Harder to Value Google Stock
Given the ubiquity of Google search services and the dominant position of Android it can be hard to remember that this company is just 20 years old, or that it went public in just 2004.
Investors in that 2004 IPO who kept their shares have now seen their value increase by 10 times. The company has a market cap on June 27 of over $780 billion and earned $23.82 per share last year.
Revenues continue to grow at over 20% per year with "just" one third of revenue hitting the net income line in March, the company has over $100 billion in cash and short-term assets on its books, and just $3 billion in debt.
Google is refocusing its ad branding, getting rid of the name Doubleclick, and that unit will now be known as just Google Ads.
The Bottom Line on Google Stock
With a price to earnings ratio of almost 48, double what it was a few years ago, Google is fully valued, and the shares are worth just $30 more now than they were at the start of the year.
Google today seems to be girding itself for coming economic and political storms, acknowledging its status, competing fiercely to avoid charges of monopoly and accepting its role as a corporate giant.
It still doesn't pay a dividend, but if it did its market cap would pass $1 trillion faster than CEO Larry Page's flying car start-up can get you to work.
Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the historical mystery romance The Reluctant Detective Travels in Time , available now at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn . As of this writing he owned shares in T, MSFT and AMZN.
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