Private Investor: Never mind what the analysts said: Google's a hit

It's a funny old game, fame. Almost everyone in the land has heard of Abi Titmuss, for example, the ultimate example of someone who is famous just for being famous. But I bet only a fraction of that number know who on earth Sergey Brin and Larry Page are.

It's a funny old game, fame. Almost everyone in the land has heard of Abi Titmuss, for example, the ultimate example of someone who is famous just for being famous. But I bet only a fraction of that number know who on earth Sergey Brin and Larry Page are.

Well, if you don't know - and I didn't before I started looking into it a bit more - Sergey and Larry are the co-founders of Google, which you will also almost certainly have heard of. Interestingly, and just to prove my point, you will find that if you put "Sergey Brin" and "Larry Page" into Google you get 102,000 hits; "Abi Titmuss" gets 131,000. Prophets not even recognised properly by their own search engine, it appears.

Still "Tim Berners-Lee", the inventor of the world wide web, will register 666,000 results: the sort of number that makes the conspiracy theorists excited.

Anyway, Sergey and Larry founded Google less than a decade ago, but it seems so much a part of people's everyday lives that it is difficult to imagine a world where it didn't exist. Actually, I can remember when everyone used Yahoo! and Lycos and AltaVista, and their dominance at that time seemed to be just as much entrenched.

Like Hoover, Google has turned from a trade name into an everyday verb and noun. Unlike Hoover, it is more than a generic name: it represents a monopoly. You might say you were Hoovering the lounge if you were using an Electrolux or a Dyson, but you wouldn't say you'd "Googled" something if you'd put it through Ask Jeeves, say.

For those who thought Google was some sort of flash in the worldwide pan, the results announced by the company last week should be adequate answer.

Google outdid the army of analysts who follow it and predict its financial results. The company was able to announce that first-quarter sales had nearly doubled, and quarterly profits rose six-fold. Revenues in the three months to 31 March rose to $1.26bn (£660m) compared with $652m in the same period last year. Net income increased to $369m from $64m last time. Who said you can't make money out of the internet?

And all the advertising seems to be both effective from the point of view of the companies who place it and unobtrusive to those who use and trust Google as a supplier of data. A remarkable trick to pull off, but it seems the advertisers want more: Google is now proposing to give advertisers more influence in where their ads are shown, how much they pay for them and what they look like. Advertisers will bid to show ads on certain sites, but they will have no veto over what content happens to turn up on a web page when the ad is shown. It's a compromise I hope will satisfy everyone.

For now, though, things are going swimmingly. I bought Google shares earlier this year, and they're already ahead 10 per cent in sterling terms and at an all-time high; $220, against their $45 float last August.

My reasoning is that Google has two good stories attached to it. First, there's the short- to medium-term weakness of the dollar, which means that we on this side of the Atlantic can cash in and buy quality American equities on the cheap. Eventually, when the US economy rights itself and the dollar regains its poise, that will put a useful bit of boost into the returns.

Second, there is that terrific secular growth story. The beauty about a share like Google in an industry such as information technology in this stage of its development is that even the smartest analysts and experts can get things very badly wrong, in a way that they don't even manage to do with more established, slightly easier-to-read sectors such as retail or resources. If you have a hunch that something like Google is going to do even better than the markets reckon, there's as good a chance that you'll be right as they will be. With the help of research using Google, even I managed to prove that.

s.o'grady@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
Voices
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

    Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

    Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

    Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

    £32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

    Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

    £Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas