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Google No Longer the Golden Child?

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August 19th, 2004. Although it seems like a lifetime has passed since then, it has only been seven and a third years since Google announced its IPO. At the time those 19,605,052 shares were valued at $85 per share. Fast forward to present day and approximately $497.27 per share and you have the Internet giant that is Google.

The company is comprised of a variety of products such as Google Translate, Google Maps, Google Images, Google Plus, Google Earth, Google Chrome, Picasa, Gmail, YouTube and of course the crowned jewel of the operation – the Google Search Engine. Just one look at that list of products and services would have any CEO of an Internet associated company jealous – or at least that was the case just a year or two ago. Surprisingly enough, there is now a CEO that Larry Page and Sergey Brin may actually envy – that man is Mark Zuckerberg.

Since its origins in 2004 (the same year of Google’s IPO) Facebook has taken social networking and the Internet itself to a whole new level. However, the company has gained the majority of its popularity within the past three years. In fact, from 2008 to 2011, Facebook managed to jump from 100 million to 800 million users.

*All Rights and Data are reserved to Facebook

From Mr. Zukerberg’s dorm room, to the computers of high school and college students, to the board rooms of Fortune 500 companies, Facebook has asserted itself as the most powerful company in cyberspace. Once portrayed as a diversion from reality, Facebook is now defines the term modern communication and has seemingly overtaken Google, Yahoo, and all other competitors as the Industry leader.

In just six years time, Facebook has caught and surpassed Google in terms of consumer attention. This phenomena has been true since September 2010, when marketing research firm comScore first reported that Americans spent more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google.

*All Rights and Data reserved by comScore

With all of that being said, an enormous amount of hype has been built concerning the Facebook IPO, which as of Wednesday, was confirmed by analysts to open with an initial $5 billion issuance of stock. However, there seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to this highly anticipated stock: Facebook’s stock will crash and burn much like that of LinkedIn. Or Facebook is strong enough to defy any negative conceptions and is poised to make a lot of people, a lot of money. Unlike many other companies of the Dot com era, Facebook has products and services that have been proven to be wildly contagious and sustainable for the long term. Another component that assures Facebook’s continuing success is the fact that the site is a marketer’s dream come true. Facebook has become a pivotal resource for companies to track consumer behavior and publicize their products. Reports indicate the in September of 2011 alone, Facebook reached over 750 million users.

Ultimately, the advertising space is where the money lies for Facebook. But the company as a whole is rock solid and coming out of 2011 with a whopping $1 billion of profit from sales of $3.7 billion. And along with a product that has more than tripled in popularity in the past 3 years, it would seem that Facebook is not only here to stay, but ready to take the stock market by storm. The other day, CNBC threw out the interesting, and rather hilarious, statistic that upon its IPO, each of Facebook’s 800 million users would be worth approximately $125 to Wall Street investors. And much like in 2004 before Google’s IPO, all there is to do now is wait and see. (It’s also worthy to note the symbol FB is available for Facebook to use in the market.)

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