Currently, my family owns shares of 35 different companies. While that may sound like a lot, the top 10 stocks make up three-fourths of our overall holdings. But of all the stocks we own, there's only one that I would qualify as a "must-own" business for just about any investor: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL). Why do I hold such high praise for the Google stock?
The simple reason is that Google packs a powerful one-two-three punch that I don't think investors can find anywhere else. Read below to find out what these three crucial characteristics are, and figure out if Google stock deserves a place in your portfolio.
A moat that's the envy of just about everyone
Few companies become so dominant that their name can be used as a verb. Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Skype, or TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) and its digital recording are among this rare crowd. But none is a better example than Google. Whenever someone doesn't know the answer to a question, the solution is, invariably, to "Google it."
The numbers prove this out, as Google has consistently held a dominant place in the global search market for years. Here's what the last five years have looked like, from both desktop and mobile searches.
Some might look at the trends in these charts and worry -- Google seems to be consistently losing market share. To that I have to things to say.
First, the company's decision to bow out of China has a lot to do with the loss of desktop market share as more and more Chinese citizens come online. More importantly, it would be almost impossible for Google to maintain their original market share -- 100% is the upper limit after all. What's more important is that the overall size of the search market is growing very fast, as more and more global citizens start using the Internet.
No matter how you look at it, Google stock allows you the opportunity to invest with one of the most dominant brands and companies in the world. It will be very difficult for the competition to knock Google off of its throne.
A culture of innovation
One thing I love about Google is that it realizes that it has to deal with big company problems. No longer is it the tiny California upstart that was nimble and lighting fast to jump on the latest trends. That doesn't mean, however, that it has lots its innovative edge.
From the famed "20-percent time" -- which is either dead or alive, depending on who you ask -- to investments in self-driving cars and alternative energy, Google has an incredibly diverse number of potential futures.
As it currently stands, most of these innovative, nonsearch-related projects are taking place at a facility known as Google[x]. Headed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Google[x] has an, "interest in every industry which is broken: the factory industry, the energy industry, the industry of agriculture."
Not only could Google[x] be a huge boon for humanity but your portfolio as well.
A leadership team with the right approach
A few years back, Google announced a plan to create Class C shares. In essence, this was a move by Brin and co-founder/CEO Larry Page to make sure that no one else ever had enough voting power to overrule them on the direction of the company.
Usually, investors are up in arms over moves like this: It opens up the potential for management to make moves, which could enrich them over the short term while leaving shareholders with little to nothing in the end.
But, in my opinion, that's not the case here. Brin and Page are well aware of the short-term motivations could easily lead activist investors to try and buy shares of the company and squeeze out short-term profits. That's not what they want.
In a 2013 interview, Page said, "I think the four-year horizon for leaders is pretty difficult. It's pretty difficult to solve big problems in four years. I think it's probably pretty easy to do it in 20 years." That's why Google is interested in the 20-year time horizon.
And its exactly that kind of thinking -- as well as the culture of innovation and incredible moat that allows for such tinkering -- that leads me to believe that Google is the closest thing to a "buy-and-forget" stock on the market today.
Brian Stoffel owns shares of Google (A shares) and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool recommends Google (A shares) and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.