Yesterday, I covered five stocks I was seriously considering buying for my Roth IRA. None of those stocks, however, made the final cut. Today, I'm telling you which stock did, and why: Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) .
Before you move on because Google seems like such a generic pick, read on and discover why I think the company is poised to prosper for decades to come.
The main course
Make no mistake about it; at its core, Google is a search and advertising business. I know it has its hands in many other arenas -- and I'll get to those in a minute -- but Google has been very savvy in never losing focus on what made it the company it is today.
According to Web information company Alexa, Google is both the most visited site in America and the world. That alone speaks volumes to the company's ubiquity in search, but it gets even better as you dig deeper.
Consider the fact that though Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) has spent tons of cash promoting its search engine Bing, Google still maintains 66% of the U.S. search market share, according to hitwise.com.
Things are equally promising when we look abroad. Though homegrown search companies Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU ) and Yandex (Nasdaq: YNDX ) are the No. 1 websites in China and Russia, respectively, Google isn't far behind. Currently, it generates the eighth most traffic in China and fifth most in Russia.
Though search is the most developed part of the company, its opportunities abroad could continue driving growth for years to come.
As I mentioned above, Google isn't resting on its search laurels. As CEO Larry Page identified in the most recent conference call, the company has at least three other areas that are poised for massive growth.
- The Android operating system has emerged as the No. 1 threat to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iOS dominance in smartphones. Android is now available on 190 million devices worldwide, and that number is growing every day with its release of ice-cream sandwich.
- YouTube currently ranks as the third most visited site in the world (and fourth in the United States). Google is a master at monetizing services like YouTube, and though specific numbers weren't released as to this segment's profitability, you can count on the fact that Google will capitalize on the service's popularity.
- Google's Web browser, Chrome, is becoming ever more ubiquitous. As of the end of the third quarter, it had registered more than 200 million users.
Don't stop believing
As if these three weren't enough, the company is always looking for new ways to improve. As I wrote in June, the company focuses on holistic development of both the business and its employees.
In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, best-selling author Daniel Pink highlights what he believes employees really want out of their work -- and it ain't money. In no particular order, they want autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
I'm not sure whether Larry Page has read Pink's book, but a statement in Google's most recent 14-A makes it seem possible: "[Monetary] incentives are secondary to career growth, work environment, and engaging work opportunities. We seek to develop a highly motivated and collaborative workforce that pursues achievements for the sake of progress and innovation."
One of the most notable outgrowths from this holistic approach is what Google calls "20 percent time." One day out of the week, all Google employees are encouraged to work on anything they want, especially if it doesn't relate to their day-to-day assignments.
Fool co-founder David Gardner likes to talk a lot about the promise of companies with multiple futures: companies that don't fit nicely into one industry because they effectively have their hands in many at one time.
Google fits right into this thinking. Though companies like Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX ) and Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO ) have established themselves as dominant forces in cloud computing and the deals business, respectively, both could easily be disrupted by Google's homegrown versions of the same businesses.
One more avenue for growth
There's one more avenue for growth that I haven't even touched on yet: near-field communications. Essentially, this technology will make it possible for you to turn your smartphone into your credit card. Though it's still in its infancy, Google could easily buy out the biggest established players and integrate the technology into its Android system.
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