As far as tech companies go, few have the name recognition, prestige and most importantly, stock price, as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Currently trading at around $568 per share, the tech giant certainly isn't cheap. But if you have yet to get on the Google bandwagon and can afford it, fewer companies should be more solid over the long-term than Google. Most recently, the company has made a trio of acquisitions that, while not game-changers on their own, amount to great moves for the company. Taking into consideration these recent acquisitions, as well as moves it is making in advertising, I think Google could be set for a steady rise.
While Google Plus has not been quite as successful as hoped, that doesn't mean Google is giving up on social networking. Consequently, Google just announced its purchase of Meebo, a social networking start-up based out of Silicon Valley that reaches close to 100 million people. Acquiring Meebo should enhance Google Plus, as Meebo's services include many communication features integral to modern social networking. Meebo also specializes in assisting advertisers with sustaining their relationships with Web users, which will be absolutely crucial going forward, as many tech companies struggle with monetizing their users. So far, Google Plus has attracted about 170 million users, compared to over 900 million for social network titan Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). In a statement, Google touted the move as a great addition to Google Plus. The statement said:
We are always looking for better ways to help users share content and connect with others across the Web ... With the Meebo team's expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google Plus team.
Google also just announced its acquisition of Quickoffice, software that specializes in mobile productivity. This could be even more important than the Meebo acquisition, as Quickoffice is more about business productivity than social networking. Business solutions are always going to be easier to monetize than connecting people via social networks, many of whom aren't interested in spending money. What Quickoffice does is allow users to work on projects using commonly-used software programs on the go. For instance, Quickoffice allows someone working on a document at work to save their progress and finish on the bus ride home using their mobile device. Quickoffice is especially efficient at switching between file formats, a problem many people encounter when trying to work on their files with different devices. This seems like an extremely smart investment for Google, as the company seems more vigilant about monetizing its user base than Facebook. Director of Engineering Alan Walsh stressed the importance of cloud-based work for the company going forward. Walsh said:
Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone on any device. Quickoffice has a strong base of users, and we look forward to supporting them while we work on an even more seamless, intuitive and integrated experience.
One important aspect of this deal to acquire Quickoffice is the timing. Some are calling this move a sort of pre-emptive strike against Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which will undoubtedly be rolling out similar software when it launches Windows 8. If Google is able to integrate itself seamlessly with Quickoffice and increases its user base, it could turn out to be a brilliant move, potentially swiping customers who would otherwise have gone to Microsoft once it rolls out Windows 8.
Finally, rounding out Google's trio of acquisitions is its purchase of a group of patents from semiconductor producer Magnolia Broadband. The purchase includes 28 wireless data patents that have already been issued, as well as 24 that are currently pending, according to All Things D. The move is a good signal to investors that the company is remaining vigilant in its desire to be on the cutting edge of technology.
Google is also making big moves in the advertising world that should set it up to capitalize on the growing need for online advertising. The company recently announced it will be making a play for $25 billion display ad market. Display ads include banners and other large advertisements on websites. As it stands, Google makes most of its advertising revenue on the small ads that come up when searching for something. Google has been quite successful with this, generating much more revenue than Facebook. With this new announcement, the company is looking to expand its advertising efforts even further, and I think it's an extremely savvy move going forward.
As for internet browsers, Google's Chrome remains incredibly strong. A market formerly dominated by Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Chrome is now king. Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) may be making a play with its new Axis browser, but many are skeptical of the former internet giant. What will be interesting to watch going forward is the evolution of mobile browsers, in which Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will certainly be a player with Safari, as well as potentially Facebook, which may be in the process of acquiring Norwegian browser Opera. But I personally would put my money on Google going forward, as it has tremendous capital available to devote to mobile.
Again, there are certainly cheaper stocks out there than Google. I understand some people are skittish about investing in such a highly priced stock, as of course there is potential for big losses. However, given the fact that Google hasn't been afraid to make moves to remain on the cutting edge, I feel strongly about the company's prospects going forward. Online advertising is going to be incredibly important in the future, and Google is poised to be at the forefront at reaping the rewards of monetizing internet users. Taking all of this into consideration, I would strongly recommend investing in Google for the long-term.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.