20 Investing Lessons From Google Stock as Google Turns 20

Learn some investing lessons from Google's successes.

Google turns 20 years old today, and what an amazing two decades it has been. The company has grown from the brainchild of two dreamers to a verb — “I’ll just Google it.” Here are twenty lessons you can learn from Google, its investments and its journey.

Click to find out what a share of Google bought at IPO would be worth today.

A Timeline of Google Investments and GOOG Stock Success

1995: Larry Page met Sergey Brin when Page was considering Stanford University for law school and Brin was assigned to show him around the campus.

1998: Google was officially started when Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, invested $100,000.

2003: Google acquired Applied Semantics, maker of AdSense for $102 million.

2004: Even before its IPO, Google was shaking up the investment world. The company negotiated with its investment banker to lower the 4 percent fee that is traditional for deals of that size to 2.8 percent.

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Aug. 19, 2004: What was then Google and is now Alphabet went public, selling 19.6 million shares at $85 a share, raising $1.67 billion. Google stock rose more than 18 percent on the first day of trading. By the end of the day, the company was valued at $27 billion.

2004: Google’s IPO was an auction, which is unusual. The rationale was that an auction would make shares more accessible to the general public rather than fund managers who get access to most IPOs.

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2006: Google was added to Standard and Poor’s 500 — now referred to as S&P 500 — stock index.

2006: Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion in stock. It later closed its Google Video offering and moved videos to YouTube.

Jan. 20, 2006: Google shares fell 8.5 percent. The reason? Google announced that it would oppose a request by the U.S. government to share data to assist in fighting child pornography.

2007: Google purchased DoubleClick, an online advertising firm, for $3.1 billion, its largest acquisition at the time.

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2007: Google released a beta version of Gmail. In 2007, it acquired Postini for $625 million to improve security, and in 2009 Gmail came out of beta.

November 2007 to Sept. 29, 2008: The stock fell from $747.24 to $395 due to the stock market crash that caused the Great Recession.

Sept. 30, 2008: After the stock had already taken a beating during the market crash, a data glitch caused the stock to appear to drop by nearly half, from $396 per share to $200. The error was quickly corrected and erroneous trades were negated, but there were some nervous moments.

2012: Google was one of the largest American companies not included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

2013: Going way beyond search and even beyond the internet, the Google-backed company Calico is focused on fighting age-related disease.

April 2, 2014: Google split its stock, but not in the traditional way. Rather than just issuing two shares for everyone and dividing the price in half, Google issued one share of a new, non-voting Class C share for each share held. The stock split had the intended effect of lowering the price to make the stock more affordable. But it did not dilute the voting power of the existing shares and, more importantly, the Class B shares held by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

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2014: Google shareholders brought a class action suit to combat the stock split, which was settled when Google agreed to compensate holders of the new C shares if their average price fell over one percent below that of A shares in the first year of trading.

Oct. 2, 2015: Google restructured its business, creating a holding company called Alphabet which owns Google and other companies. This enabled Google to expand into other areas under the same umbrella. Alphabet includes Google, Google X, Nest and Calico, among others. The divisions other than Google focus on research and future developments like driverless cars and robotics.

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2018: Google announced a five-year goal to award $1 billion in grants and contribute a million employee volunteer hours toward organizations that try to make a difference.

2018: At just 20 years old, Alphabet is now the third-largest company in the U.S. The only two that are larger are Apple (age 42) and Amazon (age 24). As of 2018, Alphabet has around 89,000 full-time employees.

See: The Ups and Downs of Google on Its 20th Birthday

Happy birthday, Google!

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