If you're looking for a good stock long-term investment, Google (GOOG) is the stock for you.
Barron's recently wrote in its mid-May edition that shares of Google and Apple (AAPL) are probably better long-term in comparison to Facebook (FB). Although Facebook is one of the most dynamic companies of our time it is not one of the greatest stocks to back, and old favorites like Google are still the best bet. According to Barron's the "better bets probably are Apple and Google, proven growth companies with much lower valuations and cash-laden balance sheets." I feel that although Facebook is a great social utility, its use ends there. As a stock option, it is not particularly viable, especially in comparison with Google.
It seems that Apple may ditch Google Maps in its software in favor if its own mapping software. This is something that we have seen coming for a long time, as Apple has made no secret of the fact that it wants to get rid of Google maps in its iPhone. It seems that the two companies are experiencing a shift in relationship status, moving from being collaborators to competitors. This could be a blow for Google. At this point, these reports remain unconfirmed. The new maps will reportedly involve a 3D option developed by C3 Technologies, a company that Apple acquired last year.
This is just the most recent acquisition that Apple has made with the aim of displacing Google Maps in mind. The maps are supposed to provide a far better experience than the ones currently provided by Google. In addition, the technology that Apple no has at its finger tips may allow it to introduce a product that could rival Google Street View considerably. If Apple gets these plans off the ground, and if they are, indeed, true, then Google will face increased competition from the company. If Apple gets it right and includes all of the features that other smartphones have then it could mark a new era in cell phone navigation.
C3 Technologies may allow Apple to invent a new map system that is far superior to the one currently on offer from Google. There are a number of advanced features that may arise in the new iPhones. The essential improvement is in the quality of the maps. C3 Technologies can render maps that are much more realistic in comparison to the rather basic Street View option that Google Maps has. In fact, the technology is so impressive that it has been dubbed "Google Earth on Steroids." Provided that Apple finds a way to incorporate Turn-By-Turn Voice Navigation, a feature that Android users have long since become accustomed to, it may soon be the company with the best mobile navigation options out there.
Recently, an appeal to a Freedom of Information Act request to disclose National Security Agency records about the 2010 cyber attack on Google users in China was turned down in federal court. Essentially, The Electronic Privacy Information Center, an organization interested in privacy and civil liberties, requested access to communications between Google and the NSA. The NSA refuses to confirm or deny whether or not it has a relationship with Google, as this could jeopardize the safety of the nation. In addition, the NSA is not in fact required to disclose any information, and neither does it need to prove that disclosure would be harmful.
Google theorized at the time that the cyber attacks that were made on a number of Chinese citizens may have in fact been instigated by the Chinese government. The Chinese government refused to confirm or deny any involvement leading to rumors that Google teamed up with the NSA to investigate the matter itself. The Electronic Privacy Information Center claims that a number of the records that it wishes access to are not of the kind that the NSA can legally keep from them.
Baidu (BIDU) may become a serious competitor for Google as the company plans to very soon enter the smartphone market. Baidu recently announced that it is going to release a new smartphone based on a new operating system called Baidu Cloud. What sets this phone apart from the offerings already on the market is that it will be substantially cheaper than most phones. Baidu is also hoping that its new OS will help it become a platform company for a variety of mobile phone manufacturers in order t boost its presence in the mobile phone sector in China.
Intel (INTC) is also fighting for a place in the smartphone market. The company is very new to this game having only started taking a serious shape about a month ago, but now that it has made its intentions clear it seems that there is no stopping it. Intel (INTC) intends to design chips for smartphones that are so good that they simply cannot be ignored by leaders in the industry such as Apple. The number of new chips that the company is producing is quite staggering and it seems well on its way to overthrowing its main rival ARM (ARMH).
Yahoo! (YHOO) has suffered a run of bad luck over the years having gone through a number of different CEOs. Recently the latest CEO, Scott Thompson, was swept out by the company due to reports of an inaccurate piece of information on his resume. Thompson was hired in an attempt on the company's part to recover. Although Yahoo is the most visited site on the internet its revenue and shares have been suffering a lot of late and this new upheaval, that also resulted in five directors stepping down, will do nothing to help the company's recovery.
Losing its Maps feature on Apple's popular phones will only serve to separate the two giants more. With new companies cracking into the smartphone industry, Google needs to keep pushing its Android platform further. Keeping it as a top player will keep the money coming in to Google, which definitely no longer needs any reputation help, just sales. Google is currently trading around $628. If it can generate strong sales of its Android platform, I think the stock will trade close to $680 by 2014.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.