Google passes Time Warner as globe's biggest media company

MUMBAI: The googling phenomenon shows no signs of letting up! Less than 10 years since it was formed, internet search engine Google has overtaken traditional media companies like Time Warner and Viacom.

It is now the most valuable media company on the planet at $80 billion since it started trading 10 months ago, displacing Time Warner as king of media behemoths. In their last quarterly report Google had announced that they were a media company and not a technology one. Reason given: 98 per cent of its revenues come from media.

Stock market analysts have suggested that the stock could go as high as $325 or $350 a share. Right now it is trading at around $293. Media reports indicate that at one time, Time Warner's market capitalisation crossed $100 billion. However once the dotcom crash happened its worth got eroded and is now worth around $78 billion. Of course, market capitalisation figures are extremely fluid and any nudge either way could cause Google to become the second biggest once again.

Google is only seven years old, but it's already worth more than General Motors and Disney combined. Its staff get free food and bring their pets to work. Yahoo is worth $27 billion.

Google's founders Larry Page are only 31 but each has amassed a personal fortune of $ 11 billion. Google now operates in 109 languages.

That said, Google's stock performance has been nothing less than amazing as of late. The stock price has gone up by a third in the last month alone, trading at 3 1/2 times its August 2004 IPO price of $85. An analyst with RBC Capital Markets said that Google could earn about $1 billion this year and more than $2.5 billion in 2007.

News Corp is worth $36.5 billion while Viacom is worth $50.2 billion. Companies bigger than Google include Pepsi at $93.61 billion, Coca-Cola at $106.21 billion, Procter & Gamble at $138.31 billion and Citigroup at $ 247.94 billion.

Google is said to have already become a part of modern culture, taking a place once occupied by the family dictionary, the encyclopaedia collection, the phone book and more. At last count, Google had indexed a staggering 8,058,044,651 web pages on its servers.

Google intends to put the texts of books, the scripts of radio and television programmes and films (along with the pictures and sound that go with them) into formats where they can be sifted and sorted by search engine. A new service called Google Print is digitising 15 million books from some of the most prestigious libraries in the world, including that of Oxford University.

Google states that rather than making libraries and bookshops redundant, Google Print will re-energise the interest of younger generations in classic texts. Google Video, another project under development, will enable users to search home videos, films and television programmes using scripts, captions and programme guides.

Google is said to be so effective that it does not need to advertise itself. Google doesn't spend money advertising; it spends money making sure the product is the best and that consumers use it. As a consequence the brand gets stronger.


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