Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sergey Brin lecture at UC Berkeley available on Google Video

The University of California, Berkeley recently added lectures from university courses and conferences on Google Video. One of the featured lectures is one by Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google. Here is a description of the lecture from Google Video:
Search Engines: Technology, Society, and Business. The World Wide Web brings much of the world's knowledge into the reach of nearly everyone with a computer and an internet connection. The availability of huge quantities of information at our fingertips is transforming government, business, and many other aspects of society. Topics include search advertising and auctions, search and privacy, search ranking, internationalization, anti-spam efforts, local search, peer-to-peer search, and search of blogs and online communities. The Instructor, Dr. Marti Hearst, is an associate professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley, with an affiliate appointment in the Computer Science Division.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Terry Semel interview on Charlie Rose

Terry Semel,CEO of Yahoo!, was interviewed on yesterday's Charlie Rose show. He was on the second segment running about 19 minutes from 25:09 to 43:56. It was a nice interview where he talked about Yahoo!'s recent earnings warning, Yahoo!'s general business strategy, and the internet in general.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More info on Google's Acquisition Strategy

Today's Washington Post has a nice article about Google's acquisition strategy. It talks about how Google tries to quietly acquire small companies in the start-up phase rather than making large acquisitions like eBay and Yahoo! have done in the past.

It has a more complete list than an earlier post of mine.

Google's Acquisitions Since Going Public

Date Company Technology

Oct. 27 Keyhole Mapping software
Oct. 30 Zipdash Traffic information to mobile phones
Dec. 15 Where2 Mapping software

March 25 Urchin Software Advertising performance
May 12 Mobile social networking
July 20 Akwan Info. Technologies Search engine
Aug. 7 Android Mobile software
Sept. 15 Transformic Search engine

Jan. 5 Reqwireless Mobile Web browsing
Jan. 17 dMarc Advertising
Feb. 14 Measure Map Blog statistics
March 10 Upstartle Web-based word processing
March 14 @Last Software 3D software for architects
April 10 Orion Search
Aug. 15 Neven Vision Facial recognition software

Monday, May 15, 2006

Gannett acquires Planet Discover

Gannett announced today that it has acquired Planet Discover, a provider of local, integrated search and advertising technology. Planet Discover provides the search engine technology that powers several newspaper and tourism sites. They also provide a Cost per Click (CPC) advertising platform for websites. Rather than showing AdSense ads from Google, the website owner sells his own ads and has a direct relationship with the advertising client.

Rather than partner with Google, Yahoo!, Ask, or Microsoft, it's interesting how Gannett has chosen buy a search company and keep it in-house. While there is some benefit to owning your own search techonology and advertising base, it would seem that someone like Google would be able to provide much better quality search engine and more advertising revenue. By using a major ad platform like Google's AdWords, the Gannett websites would benefit from the auction based system where Google's very large advertising base bids up the advertising revenue. By using thier own advertising system, Gannett has to recruit all its own advertisers and hope they will sufficiently bid up the prices to reach Gannett's user base.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Terry Semel Speaks...

The Yahoo! CEO was recently interviewed by The New Yorker writer Ken Auletta, and they have posted the video on their website. It is an excellent wide-ranging interview about Yahoo!, the internet, and search. The video lasts one hour.

A few highlights:

Early on, Terry Semel had dinner with Larry Page and Sergey Page and made a informal offer to buy Google.

Semel gave "impartial" advice to Microsoft that they should not start a search engine.

Semel talks about the controversy in China where Yahoo! gave user information to the Chinese government.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google's Buying Spree Continues

Google filed their first quarter 2006 10-Q yesterday. In Note 4 of the financial statements, they confirm that they closed on the dMarc Broadcasting acquisition. In addition they disclosed that they acquired four additional companies in the first quarter. They don't give any names though. This is in addition to the 15 companies they acquired in 2005. Any ideas?
During the three months ended March 31, 2006, we also acquired all of the voting interests of four other companies. One of these transactions was accounted for as a business combination. Because the remaining three transactions were with companies considered to be development stage enterprises, they were accounted for as asset purchases in accordance with EITF Issue No. 98-3,... The total purchase price of this business combination and these asset purchases was $79.2 million, which primarily consisted of cash payments of $75.7 million. In addition, we are obligated to make additional cash payments of up to $17.9 million if certain performance targets are met through March 2010.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Google Inc. By The Numbers

The close of the first quarter provides a convenient time to look at some interesting financial numbers regarding Google Inc.

As of March 31, 2006:

Closing stock price: $390.00
Market capitalization: $119.1 Billion
Cash raised in latest stock offering: $2.06 Billion (before SEC fees and investment banking expenses)

Sergey Brin stock holdings: $12.315 Billion
Larry Page stock holdings: $12.511 Billion
Eric Schmidt stock holdings: $4.857 Billion

Not bad!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Google to be added to the S&P 500

Standard & Poors just announced that Google (Ticker: GOOG) will be added to the S&P 500 after the market close Fri. March 31st. Google is already up 9% after the close today. Let the fireworks begin...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Google Acquires 15 Companies in 2005

Google disclosed in today's 10-K filing that they acquired 15 companies in 2005. They "acquired all of the voting interests of nine companies and substantially all of the assets of six other companies."

I can only come up with a few of these companies:

1. Urchin Software - now Google Analytics
2. Dodgeball
3. Akwan Information Technologies
4. Reqwireless

Anyone know the rest?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Google Inadvertently Releases Financial Projections

Google filed an interesting 8-K today. After Google's Analyst Day on March 2, Google meant to post the slides for that day's presentations on the investor relations section of its website. Unfortunately for Google, they also posted some comments prepared in early fourth quarter 2005 which were not meant for public consumption. They quickly removed the information from the website, but now in the interest of fairness (and not wanting to be sued), they're releasing the information via a SEC 8-K filing. Here's the scoop:

“Our ads business for the moment is healthy and growing and we’re on a strong trajectory

• projected to grow from $6bn this year to $9.5bn next year based purely on trends in traffic and monetization growth.

But strong competitors are attempting to aggregate traffic

• AdSense margins will be squeezed in 2006 and beyond”;

“To really get down to brass tacks, we’re going to: Execute well on our core ads projects to help us exceed the $9.5bn target (and backfill any AdSense partner loss) and drive advertiser satisfaction”; and
“In terms of estimating [stock-based compensation] charges for 2006, there are two things to consider:

• The amount of the charge related to awards issued prior to 2006 AND the new awards that are issued throughout 2006

• The first part, the amount related to grants prior to 2006, is $342 mm”

The statements regarding $9.5 billion in 2006 ad revenue and AdSense margins were not speaker notes prepared for the Analyst Day presentation, and were inadvertently included in the Analyst Day slides. These statements were instead speaker notes prepared early in the fourth quarter of 2005 for an internal product strategy presentation. These notes were not created for financial planning purposes, and should not be regarded as financial guidance. Consistent with past practice, Google is not providing revenue guidance. In addition, the statement with respect to AdSense margins does not reflect Google’s current expectations.

The statements regarding stock-based compensation were also inadvertently included in the Analyst Day slides. However, the statement regarding the stock-based compensation charge of $342 million, which relates to stock awards granted to employees and directors prior to 2006, is a materially accurate reflection of Google’s current expectations.