There's no question that the youth of today are net-savvy to an extreme; heck, in addition to playing video games like Gran Turismo, what do you think all the "missing males" who no longer watch as much television as they used to are doing? They're experiencing social culture on the Web, via instant messages, discussion boards, and chat rooms. But the youth of today love something else as well -- movies. Each weekend is an opportunity for studios at media conglomerates like Time Warner
Which brings me to Google's
Well, it works. I found out when and where the latest blockbusters were playing near me. Doesn't necessarily inspire me to buy into the stock, but it's a good feature that will eventually give destinations like Moviefone a run for their money. Google needs to make sure that a user can do pretty much anything she wants at its domain, whether it is blogging, froogling, or whatever else. So while an individual investor who owns stock in the company may not look at this development as a eureka moment on its own, it could be taken as confirmation that Google intends on continuing its aggregation of the best utilitarian features the Web has to offer. (Plus, it shows the studios how important its search engine algorithms will be to them in the future.) A steady stream of value-adding features coupled with killer mindshare equity might justify the rich valuation currently sported by the stock.
Then again, it might not. There has been a lot of debate as to whether Google mail/Google news/Google fill-in-the-blank makes the stock undervalued from a long-term perspective; many are dubious. Count me as a member of that camp; I just can't get behind Google's valuation. Sure, arguments can be made that high price-to-earnings ratios don't necessarily apply in every situation, and I'd agree, especially if one plans to hold a growth stock for a long, long time. Nevertheless, on a risk-adjusted basis, might it be better to wait for a lower price? My opinion: Yes.
You may not want to listen to me, however. The tone of an earlier piece of mine on Google suggested that it might be a good thing to consider skipping the IPO. I was wrong; people have made money on Google, no question. In fact, depending on how you interpret the charts, the stock appears to be strong, and could very well go much higher from here. Still, I'm not interested in playing the volatile momentum right now; it's just not for me.
One element I like about the Google website is the Occam's-razor approach -- you basically have a lot of white space with an empty data field sitting beneath a big logo in the middle, surrounded by helpful, non-intrusive links. I hope the company can resist moving toward the more "busy" look of competitors Yahoo!
Can't get enough of Google? Check out these recent articles on the transforming search engine:
- Blog at Your Own Risk
- Google's Dot-Com Dreams
- Google vs. eBay
- Google: $1 Trillion?
- Is Google Going for It?
- We also have a Google community -- share your thoughts.