This is one of several installments of our look back at the topics and trends that have been important and interesting to investors in the first half of 2006. Check out our first one on the economy, our second one on "green" trends, and our third one on investors' interests.

Very few companies inspire as much awe and annoyance -- sometimes at the very same time -- as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) already has in the first half of 2006. It seems that just about every business involved with the Internet somehow sees Google as a threat and is trying to figure out ways to defend against it. Some Google devotees love and support the company, while other Internet users decry the company's privacy policies and search results.

And for investors, the debate over Google continues unabated. Is it truly a dominant force that can expand into new area after new area, challenging stalwarts and redefining how people use the Internet? Or is the company wildly overhyped and not worth anywhere near what the market thinks it is? We have analysts on both sides of Google; it brings out the passion in everyone. So take a walk back down the halls of the Fool's coverage of Google, as we revisit the articles and strong opinions below. You can read our excerpts to decide which articles you'd like to read in full.

Google's First Miss?

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMFBreakerRick)

The competition has been fierce. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) was able to wrestle iVillage (NASDAQ:IVIL) away last year from Google as a paid-search sponsor. Google, meanwhile, had to overpay for a slice of Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL to keep Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) from snagging its largest third-party revenue source. A dark horse in this battle is Ask Jeeves, which is gearing up to be another worthy contextual marketer after being acquired by IAC/Interactive (NASDAQ:IACI). Google is going to have to face all of these challenges in the future. . (For more, click here.)

Can Google Take Over the World?

By John Bluis

With Google continually seeking out new sources for advertising revenues, we should take a look at what the advertising market is like globally. Figuring out how much of the advertising pie Google can consume will help us grasp the potential for future revenues. . (For more, click here.)

Google Under the Gun

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

This is news? According to a lengthy and interesting article in TheWall Street Journal today, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is pursuing talks with Microsoft and Yahoo! because it's worried about Google. OK, maybe the whole Microsoft/Yahoo! angle is news. But eBay's worries about Google horning in on its racket would have earned a great big "No doy!" back on my playground. . (For more, click here.)

Google's Not Worth $109 Billion

By Stephen Ellis

The search giant is priced to perfection. The market, unable to value its disruptive potential, has overestimated the shares' worth, and with no room for error, numerous issues threaten to derail Google's ascent. . (For more, click here.)

Google Is Worth Every Penny

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMFBreakerRick)

I believe that Google's moat is wider than some think. I also feel that too many investors see a high share price and make the assumption that Google is insanely overvalued. . (For more, click here.)

How Google Is Killing the Internet

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

It's nothing, I'm sure. No really, I mean it. It's just that, well, I noticed that Google insiders are continuing to drop shares on the public at a rate that boggles the mind. Here's just a brief peek at the latest tallies.

I bring it up only because I occasionally entertain the thought that Google has, in fact, destroyed the Internet. Well, not the physical Internet, mind you. Just the whole "looking for data" part of it that's key to Google's (alleged) information-based mission. The part that's held the key (so far) to its financial success. . (For more, click here.)

Google's Next Step?

By Tim Beyers (TMF Mile High)

Like many others, I was excited when Google rolled out its new financial site Tuesday morning. Google Finance is a neat tool, and I've used it every day since its debut. But its relative merits aren't why I'm writing today. I believe that the introduction of Google Finance represents a watershed moment in the life of Google, and a potential tipping point for Motley Fool Inside Value pick Microsoft. . (For more, click here.)

10 Things I Hate About Google

By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)

Why do I hate Google? Let me count the ways. . (For more, click here.)

Google's Sending Out Shockwaves

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMFBreakerRick)

I drove by a lemonade stand in rural Kentucky and was offered a free Google toolbar with my cup of liquid sweetness. OK, so maybe I'm stretching a bit, but it may not be long before Google's attempts to blanket the online community with its browser toolbar get to that point. . (For more, click here.)

Money Matters for Google and eBay

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMFBreakerRick)

Is eBay's PayPal ready to take on Google in the world of online micropayments? Yesterday's Wall Street Journal quoted PayPal president Jeff Jordan as saying that Google's upcoming payment service is "a very legitimate competitive threat. ." (For more, click here.)

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