Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Almighty Buck

Google Plans an IPO 144

Rich Jones writes "According to this story over at the BBC every geek's favorite search engine is contemplating an IPO. " Hopefully this wouldn't effect the lean mean searching that I've come to love from the unquestioned king of search engines. Now that the hype surrounding IPOs has fizzled, its nice to see a company that looks as good as Google thinking about it.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Plans an IPO

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As the internet is getting bigger, Google search results are getting less and less superior. It is now very strict about requiring a good match on each word in your search query. It is impossible to give a query by approximate subject that way that will not suffer from missing articles that omitted one of the words or too many articles if you don't put in enough words. I used to think Google was best, but I'm back to Altavista now about half the time.

    Best would probably be to bring back the articles that match 3 out of 4 words or 6 out of 8, but those searches are too expensive.

    Time to go IPO before everyone else notices.

  • Many companies are taking advantage of depressed stock prices to go private so they can stop running the gauntlet of shareholders, analysts
    and Wall St pundits.

    This allows them to get off the BS treadmill and go back to focusing on their business rather than the value of their stock price.

    If they need money to expand and are confident
    of their business borrow money from the Bank.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think most of the people who bought stock at IBM's IPO are quite dead.

    ~~~

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It is not impossible to submit a site. I do it all the time! Go to: http://www.google.com/addurl.html
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Privately held corps are fine and dandy. For example Quark (of QuarkXPress fame) is privately held, and makes gobs of money.

    There are two primary reasons for taking a company public -- one, for financing reasons; two, for compensations reasons (also known as "the company needs bux" and "the founders need bux").

    At a certain point, a large company wants to expand their operations, either by buying an existing company, inventing it in-house, or expanding on their current market base. This costs money, and generally a privately held corps has precious little cash on hand to do this -- the tax laws being what they are, you don't want to make too much profit or you'll be hammered at the end of your fiscal year. So, a company either goes public, allows buy-in from investors (selling private sharess to select few), or gets a loan.

    In tech businesses, though, a lot of companies were founded on the principle that the early employees will accept stock in return for a fat salary -- this *requires* an IPO, with everybody hoping for a big first-day rally to make them instant millionaires. This does happen, and it's a workable strategy -- but like the arms race, it works best when you're the only one doing it. Since every dot-com in the world was doing this, the concept has sort of lost its shine to an increasingly jaded workforce.

    I would argue that Google going public isn't a good thing, nor a bad thing. I'm sure their accountant-hackers have run the numbers and established that an IPO is the best way to get to their goals (whether that be search engines or World Domination). I would also argue that a publicly-held corporation is no more likely to be a problem than a publicly-elected governemt (much less, actually, since a publicly owned corporation can't force you to buy something, whereas a publicly-elected government can; witness enforced car-insurance laws).

    I agree that thousands of small private companies is better than 4 large public ones, for the same reasons it's better to have many strains of apple trees, rather than just Red Delicious -- one virus and we've got no apples. Diversification is good! But those big corporations do have a place -- it's much easier to deal with a handful of options for phone service than 100 different vendors; witness DSL's torpid deployment and desultory service for a microcosm of this.

    Be careful saying "Since when is what is good for stockholders good for America?" -- I'm pretty arrogant and opinionated, but I'm not willing to say I know what's good for America. The best answer I could give would be "for her people to remain Free". And that means there will be some large, publicly held corporations doing both good and nefarious deeds. Our job is to defend against the latter and celebrate the former.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    that game "Hungry Hungry IPO"

    I use to play it for hours!!

    You are welcome!

  • by Nick ( 109 )
    I don't know, but I think I'd wait until the economy/market improved a little...

    Just because the tech stocks seem down right now, you also have to remember that probably more then half the failed IPO's failed because the companies themselves were miserable and worthless, the market saw this after the hype, and the stock(s) was adjusted accordingly.

    Google on the other hand, is a young company with something actually of value.
  • Ive tested this and it works quite actually well for just about anything Ive tried so far, however, I'm at work and I dare not to test it out on porn yet...
  • A private company's growth is a direct function of revenue, profit, and cash position. It's growth is a direct result of it's past successes. An IPO creates an unnatural influx of cash that the company didn't "earn" and doesn't necessarily know what to do with. It permits the company to spend money on things they wouldn't DREAM of spending money on if they were still private. In other words, it permits the company to make decisions and do things that are not necessarily good business.

    I dunno about this one. An IPO is just securing a round of funding from a good deal of investors; how is this different from a private company securing a round of funding from venture capitalists?
  • The visibility trend is not what pleases me, although it would increase volume in an IPO. What pleases me is that large corporate customers are paying to use their engine, and it is continually being reworked to be faster. Once they are profitable, and I would only invest in a token few shares if they IPO before that, I feel that good visibility would help to solidify their value in the eyes of individual investors (are there any of those left?) and fund managers.

    I don't believe that eyeballs translate into money. I worked at NBCi, for god's sake -- I left when I realized that they'd never stop trying to monetize eyeballs (XOOM, which monetized things by actual revenue, is where some of Google's net ops crew came from, while I'm on the topic of failed-portal refugees). The company I now work for cares about profits, profits, and profits -- we only bother keeping hit counts in order to bill for bytes transmitted. So please do understand that I'm with you on this.

    I never bought Yahoo stock. I bought Foundry stock, and Merck stock, and bonds, because the value of these instruments is derived from profitable institutions. I suggest that anyone who doesn't understand this stick with either IBM stock or stuffing their cash under a mattress ;-).

    As for momentum, it bought me a truck during the Great Internet Tulip Craze, so I'm not unhappy about it. I just don't believe in it for the long haul :-). If Google becomes profitable before they IPO, I will *invest* in them. If not, I'll buy a couple shares out of sympathy...

    As of the moment, one of my friends who works there has heard nothing to indicate that this rumor is anything but bullshit, so I'm not losing any sleep yet.
  • GOOGLE DOES NOT MAKE MOST OF THEIR MONEY FROM ADS.

    No company that relies on banner ads [google.com] for revenue is ever going to be successful again, not even when they provide the value that Google's do (they're cheap, and work pretty well, but that's not a real business model, kids). I'll stand by that prediction -- not too brave of me.

    GOOGLE MAKES MONEY LICENSING USE OF THEIR ENGINE.

    Yahoo! pays to use it [yahoo.com] (although they didn't buy access to the entire page index, so a direct Google search will often give better results). So do about 50 other major companies. When I say 'their engine' I mean the many Googleclusters in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and (I believe) Herndon, not just the software.

    Some of my friends and ex-coworkers work there -- "Nobody at Google ever quits" they say, and aside from contractors, this appears to be true. It is a wonderful work environment [google.com] and they have filled their cubicles with Microsoft Research caliber PhD's and ex-professors. They are working on image retrieval technologies [google.com] (not truly useful yet) and have pretty much cornered the search-engine-ASP market [google.com]. (In fact, since I last talked to anyone at Google about this, they've added ANOTHER 70 PARTNERS!)

    The technology rules -- I have converted every single employee at my current company (far from an IPO, but profitable nonetheless) to using the Google Toolbar [google.com] because it saves so much time. (and they in turn have converted most of their acquaintances...) If things continue this way, not only will they be an attractive investment, but vast numbers of potential investors may habitually use Google the way they use Microsoft's site. If things go REALLY well, even Microsoft may end up using Google for their search services. That's damn good awareness. And that is why I say...

    I STILL HOPE THEY DO NOT IPO YET.

    Not just because I doubt my erstwhile coworkers will cut me in for friends-and-family ;-) but because the market is atrocious and I, like (I pray) most /. readers, would want to see them rewarded for superior technology and hard work, rather than having a fair-to-middling IPO due to the .com spectres. If revenues continue to increase (and I believe they will -- Google's search engine is lightyears ahead of new entrants like Teoma [teoma.com] due to its already being deployed and well tested), a Google IPO in a year or two would probably be a huge hit, as it may catch the economy coming OUT OF a dip.

    Marc, Shawn, Chris, and everyone else at Google, you're doing a great job, and I will buy into the company's IPO either way. But I hope Doerr and Brin and Page, or whoever would be making the decision, decide to hold off a little bit!

  • So the BBC seems to be thinking 'cluster'='large server' perhaps. Of course we know that isn't quite right, but nontechnical people might not understand the difference.

    There are few people in the world less technical than the BBC web team :0)

    (That was a joke. The BBC serve up a non-trivial volume of traffic every day themselves).

  • Google uses keyword searching. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Keyword searching is a Dead-End Technology. It scales badly, throws too many false positives and too many false negatives, and makes no allowance for international variations in spelling.

    The US is not the World, despite every attempt.

    Sure, Google will do well from this IPO. It'll earn lots of money, and might even put some of it into services like Deja, which is barely functional, these days.

    But in a few years time, will Google be any more useful than Altavista? If not, then the investors would be better throwing their cash into an R&D house that might actually produce some long-term return.

  • It doesn't seem to me that right now is a particularly good time to IPO. So, why would Google do this? Perhaps they're low on money and have been unable to secure financing from investors?
  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:48AM (#130084) Homepage
    Hopefully this wouldn't effect the lean mean searching that I've come to love from the unquestioned king of search engines.

    Actually, I hope that it continues to effect that sort of searching, and that an IPO doesn't affect it negatively....
  • I think it already was.

    I saw a contestant not long ago call his lifeline up and have him type a question into some kind of search engine. He spelled everything out and you could hear the guy typing in the background. Unfortunately for him it didn't return any results before the call ended.

    The look on the host's face was absolutely priceless.

    I'd bet that the service they tried to use was Google.
  • but I get more dead hits from them than ANY OTHER engine. This may just be because the have indexed more than anyone else...
  • by killbill ( 10058 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @07:25AM (#130087) Homepage
    Keyword searching is a Dead-End Technology...
    Some other dead ends:

    • Monolithic kernels.
    • Internal combustion engines.
    • etc...

    You get the idea... often a sub-optimal but very well understood approach will be significantly more usefull then a theoretically superior but unworkable approach. With the rate of change of the internet, I don't know how else you could possibly keep up to date.

    I am amazed at how good a job Google does every time I search. It's performance and accuracy are nothing short of astounding if you understand the nature and size of the solution space they cover.

    Bill

  • They totally broke the USENET access engine they purchased from deja.com. Deja was so much better. It allowed expansion by thread, advanced filtering and searching based on the group, personal posting history, marking threads to watch, etc.

    Now they're "Google Groups" and they have just recently enabled **trumpets sound** POSTING!
  • Unfortunately for him it didn't return any results before the call ended.

    I'd bet that the service they tried to use was Google.

    I doubt it - Google never seems to take that long to return me any results. Maybe he'd be a millionaire if he had used Google...

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • You're comparing to more than just .coms, though - Transmeta isn't really a .com, just a new IPO of a hardware company. The IPO market is bad, and not just for .coms.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • I imagine that article was written by a reporter for the BBC, not by the web team. While I wouldn't have any reason to malign the BBC's web team, the general computer knowledge level of most reporters is a tad on the weak side.

  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:57AM (#130092)
    Actually, if memory serves, Google multinode Linux clusters in three different colo facilities for redundancy, one at Exodus in the bay area, one somewhere in Virginia with some other colo provider, and I don't remember where the 3rd was.

    So the BBC seems to be thinking 'cluster'='large server' perhaps. Of course we know that isn't quite right, but nontechnical people might not understand the difference.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:35AM (#130093) Homepage Journal
    Since the article indicates that Google is likely to break even by the end of the year and analysts forecast annual revenues of about $50m by 2002, this will put Google in a very special position: being one of the few profitable public .coms.

    Now lets just hope that they don't become yet another stock value management company.
  • ...why do an IPO in the first place? When you've got a successful business with a private company, why would you want to allow money-grubbing stockholders to dictate how to run your business. IIRC, Seagate went private for that very reason.

    The obvious answer is money. But if that's the case, what does Google need more money for?
  • That's really cool! Of course it looks like they copied the color scheme from BrickShelf [brickshelf.com]
  • Is this good for the stakeholders in google? Probably. I cannot fault them for wanting to make a quick buck, and that's what this will be about, don't kid yourself.
    I feel that this is their right; they built google, those who backed it so far deserve to make money off it if they can.

    However, once this becomes public, any particular morals or ways in which the original people wanted to run it go out the door. The shareholders have a right to demand value, and that means google will have to sacrifice whatever it wants in order to increase revenue; it won't be enough to simply employ X people paid Y dollars a year in prepetuity; they will HAVE to show increased profits and growth. THat's the downfall of many public companies; the fact that, once public, they MUST grow. Even if they don't every attempt will be made to grow them until they die. It is not acceptable for a public company to sit and just keep up with inflation, and employ it's people; that's their fundamental problem.

  • Well said. And I can't help but have a feeling of dis-ease over the prospect of Google IPO-ing. Because, remember, when it's publically held, Google's emphasis will invariably shift from being the best search engine around to being the most profitable search engine around -- because that's the only reason most investors are going to buy the stock.

  • Innovative? Hasn't Altavista had this forever? Check out this image search on Slashdot [altavista.com].
  • Hopefully this wouldn't effect the lean mean searching that I've come to love

    I'm pretty sure Google has already been effected. Personally, I hope they're not affected.

    Wait a minute... could it be that the Slashdot ubergeeks are unable to translate their mastery of the Pathetically Eclectic Rubbish Lister into the eclectic, quirky English language?

  • Are they going IPO because they're very successful and want massive expansion, or they are looking to become desperate for even a simple existence?
  • Got good enough. Read the updated story:
    http://www.galstar.com/~jmccorm/review.html

    It seems they decided to publish some of their emails on the web for some boneheaded reason. It explains the story fairly well.
  • I would be skeptical; is that amount the estimated income from the one-off IPO, or is it due to ad revenue, which is WAY down compared to 1998-2000 times.

    Google is a great service, and I'd rather pay maybe a yearly subscription to keep it running (if every user payed $10 a year or so). On the other hand, it's one of the few more recent internet developments (excluding the spate of startups from 1995 onward that flopped) that has a decent solid service, and it's one of the few I would pay to use, but without the consumer and user of Google paying a fee (like normal companies), the IPO would probably get *some* money, but basing income off ad revenue would make it a one-off lump sum payment, and they are not guaranteed a more stable source of money as if they simply charged a small fee.

    One thing I like is the ability to search a domain; I live in Ireland and it's great to use a decent search engine for the .ie domain.

  • Yup, I don't have anything to do with the tech industry per se (it's a hobby, not a job) but there are a lot of layoffs from the likes of Dell, Gateway, Nortel, etc., . Intel delaying new fab development.

    There a load of repossessed cars, etc., (6x the amount in March 2001 compared to March 2000 I hear) probably from the folk that figured $80000 a year for web design is a normal salary, only never realising that they would actually be lucky to even get that one year and $80000, but there you go.

  • by ChaosDiscordSimple ( 41155 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @07:11AM (#130104) Homepage

    Google uses keyword searching. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Keyword searching is a Dead-End Technology. It scales badly, throws too many false positives and too many false negatives, and makes no allowance for international variations in spelling.

    Keyword searching by itself is a dead end. But Google isn't just keyword searching. Google's real strength is it's ability to distill information from links to and from web pages. Google effectively makes ever web page author an intelligent indicer. Google pulls out previously ignored data on the value of a web page. In short, Google works.

    Keyword searching scales badly? Compared to what? There is no magical way to avoid looking at every page and doing some form of analysis. Every search engine needs to pay roughly the same price to build up their data set. As for searching, quickly collecting results from an optimized database is fast. Database work is a heavily studied and optimized area. Search cost should be sub-linear to the size of the database.

    International variations? If you mean regional variations on the same language, it's solvable by keyword equivalence lists. Many search engines already know to search for misspellings and different conjugations. Again, what would you suggest to replace it?

    But in a few years time, will Google be any more useful than Altavista? Google is already more useful than Altavista (in most areas). All Altavista can do is catch up to Google. Meanwhile Google can explore further improvements. If Google is foolish enough to sit on their laurels, they'll be overtaken by someone with a clever idea.

    If not, then the investors would be better throwing their cash into an R&D house that might actually produce some long-term return.

    Investors don't look three years into the future. They might see two years. Probably only one. Long term research is a fundamentally risky investment. Many times you don't develop something useful, you just discover things that don't work. Don't expect investors to sink money into big maybes.

    All in all, it's a bit silly to predict doom for one of the most effective search engines without having a better idea to point to. Researches are working on better searching. Google itself came from such a project. I expect Google is doing some of that research itself.

  • First, let me say that I love Google, the search engine, and everything about the way it's been structured to date. However, I can't believe that they would try to IPO in this environment.

    Look around at the "successful" dot coms. Yahoo's gone from 250 to 18. Amazon (yes, I know we hate it, but it's one of the few well-recognized dot coms on the Street) from 100 to 12.5. Transmeta, which IPO'ed only a short while ago, from the 40s to 6. It's that bad out there. Unless you're AOL, a company which really isn't an internet company anymore, or eBay, the only real survivor of the dot com era, you're not going to do anything on Wall Street. If Google is truly serious about IPO'ing this year, its price will probably start in the $7-8 range, and God help it if it warns, because it'll quickly fall below $5, oblivion for publicly traded companies (look at Loudcloud and Agere which IPO'ed a couple months ago).

    Online advertising alone isn't enough to cut it. Without a real business model, Google's better off as it is, a geek's delight and out of the vicious spotlight cast on tech stocks by the financial markets.
  • heh that could be cool

    am i the only person who sees porn in their future? :)
  • A quick and nimble company created by two guys out of their dorm room is now one of the most feared corporate instituations on the planet.

    Okay, Google, what did Yahoo do wrong here?

    What makes you think they did something wrong?

    I would love to have started from my dorm room and ended up as any kind of corporate institution. (Loved and respected, preferably, but I'll take feared if that's the only quality left on the menu. Well, feared in a light cream sauce.) This is one of those rags-to-riches stories that the American Dream used to fuel.

  • Actually, 4000 was last year, they've since doubled that: http://content.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20010427S 0011 [techweb.com]
  • licensing the engine to other sites, and adwords (1 single, text-only, sponsored link). These are the 2 ways I know for sure are already happening, and they may have more ways.

    //rdj
  • IPO = Initial Public Offering, it's a popular first step for a company to move from private operations to public ownership through stock markets (usually)

    Should be able to find info online, try google [google.com] :)
  • ...I still think google's "I'm Feelin' Lucky" option should be a "Millionare" lifeline. My friends dont know $hit :)

  • Personally I would wait if I were the Google staff. The market conditions for tech right now suck, and I think Google should look a bit more into making some form of money to show investors they can return their (the investors) money.

    Take a look at Yahoo which peaked once as far as stocks went, nowadays its a crappy stock. Even Yahoo is having a hard time turning profit and even though Google is nice for searching, what else could they possibly offer via way of return funds to an investor with the minimal advertising thats done there?

    Example, it seems that they've added sponsors to a particular search query which match what you're loking for, however when people want something they're searching for, how many people click those links?

    It's a definite crappy market for now, and many investors see tech sleeping for a few years, and people are scared of dumping their money on tech stocks.
  • by smirkleton ( 69652 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @07:11AM (#130113)
    Why is now not, as you and other suggest, "a particularly good time to IPO"?

    If a company has solid fundamentals, is increasing revenues and moving towards profitability while sustaining healthy growth, now is as good or better a time to go public than two years ago.

    People who make this complaint seem to assume that the best time to go public is when everyone else is, when there is exuberance in the market and stock charts zooming all over the place. At such a time when public retail trader demand (and private institutional demand) for new IPOs was at an incredible high, you saw supply rise to meet the demand by pumping out one crappy IPO after another. Eventually, people started to realize that investing in companies with no fundamentals, no differentiation, no stable growth, no profits, etc.... was investing in (ahem) bad companies and they stopped doing it (public traders and private financiers).

    I think it is more reasonable for quality companies, dotcom or no, to go public when the market itself is stable. There isn't the incredible demand that there used to be, sure- and there is even less supply. But when good companies good public, smart people (public and private) know they might be worth investing in. I think Google will probably fare rather well. By saying that, I mean that they'll close above their offer price- and by the end of the year- probably still be above that price. No, that isn't a VA Linux $350 2nd day closing price- but I bet Google won't drift down to $3.00 within 18 months, either, if they've become profitable.
  • Hotbot used to be my favorite a while back, before they were purchased by Lycos (which is publicly traded). Now, it's just plain slow and clunky.

    As a new google convert, I'm thinking an IPO would be a bad thing for end users. I'd imagine at the very least it will force google into adding more "stuff" (advertisements / graphics ) to the search interface and results pages. Maybe the occasional interstital for viagra will pop up if you're searching on the word "tool".

    It's a shame that something so simple and functional could get ruined as a direct product of its own success. But this is the new internet economy we're living in ...
  • nowhere did it say 3 servers, it says 8000. maybe they changed it.
  • How is this interesting, as you recommend no alternatives?

    And I like Google's Deja much better than the mess that Deja made of the original dejanews. I like being able to pull back a complete thread quickly. It would be nice if there were parent relationships, but I'll take the speed increase and just scan.

    That said, I'd love to see how google intends to make investor-friendly (i.e. ever increasing profits) money. I still don't see how they can offset the IT costs with the minimal advertising they have. The deal with Yahoo and others can't be worth that much, can it?

    I would suggest that, as a company and not knowing how much in debt they are, they would be better off not going public. If their sole goal is for the owners and investors to quickly make back their investments before the lure of the internet completely bottoms out, our beloved google will be dead within a year, or warped into a form we don't recognize or like.
  • that google never dies. oh well, i guess you have to sell out eventually.

    -motardo
  • If this means they will be able to afford to stop treating .com as a noise-word in searches!
  • I still have a complaint though ... the Advanced Search "exact match" is unintuitive.

    agreed. I would also think that putting something in quotes means i am looking for a phrase, but the '+'s are still need inside the quotes. Also putting a '+' in front (e.g. +"if you like it" should result in matching all the words in the quotes.
  • Well, you still may think it is a hassle, but, if you took 1/10th of the time it took to complain about it, you'd see that a search for "+an ion-trap +that +will" [google.com] at google will give you what you want. (in .23 seconds)
  • I'd like to see Google's real plans, from the horse's mouth. Do they intend to stay focused on search engine technology, or are they planning on branching out to compete with portals?

    Other posts have mentioned how Yahoo! started as a directory. Remember Lycos? Search engine gone wrong. Remember AltaVista? Serach engine gone bad. Remember Excite? Search engine gone totally wrong.

    These companies didn't all start with the intention of becoming bloated portals, but they wound up that way because there was a compelling business case that forced them to seek other methods of building revenue.

    How is Google going to be different?

    An IPO is primarily a means for a company to raise large amounts of cash with which to take the company up to the next level. That's the traditional case for an IPO, at least. In the past few years, the IPO has become a means of generating enough cash to build a company from thin air. Blame the companies all you want, but investors who didn't pay attention to the underlying mechanism of the IPO should take the blame just as well.

    In the case of Google, I absolutely love it as search engine, but I'm not convinced I should love it as an investment. Let's hope Google is contemplating an IPO for the right reasons, and not as a means of staving off death.

  • I hate to be contrary, but you may have missed one possible reason. Capital exists to do things you cannont do right now. If you have more projects available than people, then you may need to hire people to get those projects going. Where would that cash come from? Your profits? For a while, yes. Finally, you get big enough that a large cash amount is necessary to get to the next step.

    How do I know this? I work for such a company. We are (and have been for years) profitable. We have been growing. We want to go in a new direction in R&D, but need serious amounts of cash. We need another production floor, ergo more cash. We could (and have in the past) borrowed the money, but recently, investors have been knocking asking to get in on the action.

    We did plan on going public last year, but didn't due to the market. This is a good sign from the employee point of view, since we have continued to grow anyways. In some ways it would be nice NOT to go public, since there are some headaches that are inevitable (yes, worrying about how much my stock options are worth is an issue...). The next couple of projects we want to do will require large amounts of capital, and that will probably require us going public.

    It costs money to spend money. We need to get the money from somewhere. Borrow or go public. Going public is probably cheaper. Its a risk, but there is a chance for it to work well for the investor and the company.
    -- The Hollow Man

  • Very good point. I have an external contact with the Google people, and I believe they do. If nothing else, they are doing some AMAZING research.
    -- The Hollow Man
  • I don't know much about high finance, but I do know that one of reasons so many tech companies have faced is the easy availability of finance cash, without being prepared to handle the responsibility of having shareholders. In the current climate Google may attract some genuine investors who know a quality product when they see one, and trust the vision of the company. I have wondered why Google hasn't already IPO'ed, but it looks like they spent the required time developing their product and perfected their business plan; a rare thing these days. Google does have a product too, and it is the best on the market today. And I'm pretty sure there is no need to worry about Google losing control, you can be sure all the private financiers and the founders will retain a controlling interest after the IPO.
  • Its plainly off topic.

    Was the story about Google going public, or was it about their search mechanisms?

    Frankly I think that it was about the floatation, therefore references to your page being in position 5 when its the busiest page you have are indeed irrelevent. Well moderated whoever marked this as off topic.

    Strange thing is though, I made an on topic post against an off topic post ;p

  • Its good to see that a .COM is actually being floated *AFTER they have started to make some cash.

    Perhaps this may spark a return in confidence to the shares in the technology sector.

    It also shows that if you offer a good service, word of mouth can make you a market leader. Perhaps M$ should bear this in mind instead of pi55ing around trying to tie everybody into Bill Gate's megalomania trip with very suspect EULA's for their development kits.

  • Yeah... Microsoft would never do something like buy into Corel [slashdot.org] and then cancel their Linux distro [slashdot.org]... Not that it's any big deal, Corel was not that great of a company, but as long as the courts are ineffective against MS, they won't give a good goddamn whether their actions look anticompetitive or not.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • ...they wont be affected either...
  • did you bother to read the last article they had on google? All your concerns about 'the us is not the world' were addressed there, and imo very well too.

    basic difference between altavista and google: google works. this 'dead-end technology' works almost every time.

    basic reason for providing translation: so foreigners can search the english web; having it the other way around is just a convenience. don't like it? go back and read the interview with google's head of r&d, you'll see why it makes sense.

    this weekend i went and did two searches on deja and immediately found what i was looking for. i'd say deja is working just fine. your mileage clearly varied...

    Peace,
    Amit
    ICQ 77863057

  • Quote: If you have more projects available than people, then you may need to hire people to get those projects going. Where would that cash come from?

    This is right on the money. The question is does Googles really has some worthwhile projects to fund?

    After reading last weeks interview with Goggles Director of Research - I have to say a solid "No" I didn't see any ideas that, when coded, would make my life better so as a investor, you can count me out of the IPO- regardless of how hyped it may become.

    BxT

  • when i heard about an IPO was on slashdot... Isnt this sad? Lispy
  • You missed an option:

    3. Google is largely financed by venture capital (Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital - two top VC firms), and therefore must produce a "liquidity event".

    VC firms aren't in it for revenues, they're in it for shareholder value. They can't get the cash they need out of a company without selling it, either to the public or a big company with deep pockets. Both VC firms are represented on Google's board of directors, and probably make up the most influential members.

    Google doesn't really have a choice now - they committed to this when they made the deals that financed their rapid growth.
  • Your post is mostly on the mark, except for:
    I have converted every single employee at my current company (far from an IPO, but profitable nonetheless) to using the Google Toolbar because it saves so much time. (and they in turn have converted most of their acquaintances...) If things continue this way, not only will they be an attractive investment,
    How does the fact that everyone uses Google mean that it is an attractive investment?

    You're falling prey to exactly the same fallacy as everyone else in the mass hysteria of the 1999 IPO market did: that somehow eyeballs == good investment. It is exactly that kind of thinking that caused the bubble to hyperinflate, and then burst: "Everyone is looking at this company's web page, let's invest!" Once they realized that there wasn't actually any money there, the bubble burst.

    Even, say, 100 billion hits a day isn't worth any investment at all, if there's no way to make money from them. Would you invest in Slashdot, for example? So what if lots of people look at it - it doesn't make any money. It loses money hand over fist.

    I won't know if I want to invest in Google until I see an S/1 and know if they translate their technology into profits or losses. If it costs more to run their engine than they make, and that will be the case for the forseeable future, how is the investment attractive?

  • try it with heidi klum [google.com] !
  • Google uses keyword searching. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Keyword searching is a Dead-End Technology.

    Well, as somebody who actually works in the field of web search engines, here's how keyword searches are seen:

    "keyword searches suck, everything else sucks even more"

    There is a pile of search engine carcasses proving it: the old lycos stemmer, the statistic excite approach, the OpenText structured data query, the Ask jeeves type-20-words to get the same old crappy answer you would get with a single keyword and the list goes on and on.

    Yes, sooner or later researchers will find a way to go around keyword searches. But contrary to what you say, this is not bad news for Google. Nothing stops them from adopting the new technology when an alternative arises.

  • by mmaddox ( 155681 ) <oopfoo&gmail,com> on Monday June 25, 2001 @07:36AM (#130138)

    It appears that either:

    1. Google staff are interested in "Cashing out" - converting their investment to valuable stock, and exercising their options while interest and price is high
    2. Google is money-starved and is looking for an influx of public capital to maintain the business

    There is, among the public, some bizarre fascination with IPOs. For some reason, people think that your business isn't a "real" business until it makes a public offering. Come ON people! Companies go public for money - that's ALL. Look at the privately-held companies that are many times as large as little startups as Google (I used to work for one: Watkins Motor Lines, part of Watkins Associated Industries: $1B plus in revenues). If you're making money, it's not necessary to sell public stock.

  • by mgoyer ( 164191 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:50AM (#130141) Homepage
    Google is continuing to prove that they're an exciting and innovative company.

    Just check out [google.com] their beta image searching technology with the search term 'slashdot'.

    Matt

  • I don't think so. The times they are changing. All of the sites you mention went IPO or where publicy held when being a "portal" was the next big thing. Well most people now understand that that whole idea is dead. Also Google puts the public search engine up because it has low marginal costs and pays for itself. Their real business is leasing the software/hardware to other businesses who want to use them as a backend. (This has been talked about in other threads here.) Think about Google is now the search engine part of Yahoo. They are everything the sites you mention where not making a nice profit and a solid model for making money. Having said that I don't think now is the right time for an IPO and think they would be better holding off for 6 months to a year. But the search engine part is already paying for itself so I think we are safe.
  • Yes they do sell stuff. A very good service and product to some very large companies. http://www.google.com/corporate/index.html
  • Check out this interview, it explains a bit about what happened with deja/google : Interview with Monika Henzinger [salon.com] Essentially, here's an excerpt :
    We had Google engineers working very, very hard to get the service out by the time that Deja said they would shut down, in February.

    At first it was not clear when Deja actually would shut down. Suddenly it was like, "Now it's going to happen next week," so we had to go live with whatever we had. We did not want the service to be down at all, so we decided to go live and then gradually improve it. You couldn't post initially, but now people can post again. We had to rewrite all the code.



    -- .sig --
  • Goggle was on NPR yesterday claiming they had no current interent in an IPO. what gives?
  • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @08:17AM (#130155)
    They may not rely on ad revenue, but they are certainly getting some. This is why there is a "sponsored link" on many of the search results you get. See AdWords [google.com].

    As for "seeling their search engine software"... it sounds more to me like they are renting it out-- since their corporate overview specifically mentions that "All of Google's commercial products are hosted by Google, alleviating the need for organizations to manage their own costly search software and resources." Which says to me that there is a revenue stream from subscriptions, and that they will have less worries about market saturation-- since saturation will simply imply a lot more subscriptions.
  • by sulli ( 195030 )
    I use Yahoo Groups all the time - they're great, better than eGroups were (a few nice features). The search is still fairly useful, and if you don't find it in the directory, it sends you to Google. Their mail service is the best free webmail around (very useful for accessing POP3 behind a firewall or at a public web terminal). My Yahoo still gives me useful news du jour. What's not to like?
  • True. But unless there's a way to make good money staying private, what else can they do?
  • What about:

    This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo removes such Content from the Service.

    Seems to me that this would supersede the "perpetual" license granted below. Even if not, I don't think this would be enforceable - if I did first circulate my novel that way, which I wouldn't anyway, I'm sure a jury would agree with me that it's still mine despite the "sneakwrap" T&C that I never bothered to read.

  • by milo_Gwalthny ( 203233 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @09:37AM (#130159)
    Well... public or not, they are funded by (among others) two no-nonsense VC firms: Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital. The pressure to create shareholder value is already high.

    Also, remaining private is not an option. When VCs are on board, there are three options for the company: go public, sell to another company, go out of business. The life of a VC fund is usually 10 years or less. The VC wants to sell the stock and distribute the proceeds, or have the company go public and distribute the stock before that. If the company is private, distributing the stock to fund investors is problematic. There are often contractual provisions that force the company to go public in some timeframe (ie. registration rights, redemption rights.)

    With VCs involved, it was only a matter of time before Google went public or was sold. It shouldn't be a surprise, and noone can say management is selling out *now*. In the 'dude, you're a sell-out' sense of the word, they did that when Kleiner invested; in the literal selling out (their stock) sense, most likely they won't be able to do that until at least six months after the IPO.

  • One of the things people like about Google is that their page isn't cluttered my adverts. However, if you search for things of commercial interest you will find that there are "sponsored links" at the top of the page. This is where companies have paid specifically to have their page at the top when people search for particular words. Cars are a good example, look at bmw [google.com] and fiat [google.com].

  • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @06:57AM (#130165)
    Yahoo also allowed stacking the deck. It was too easy to fight for a top spot on Yahoo. Unfortunately this burried what I was looking for under pages and pages of commericial sites. Try looking for free MP3's on Yahoo. It's a waste of time. You may find a teaser file once in a while burried in non MP3 music. Lots of pages of music are for sale in most anything but MP3. I quickly learned to look elswhere. I hope Google does not bury real content under the commercial interests. Yahoo search is one of the reasons Napster is doing so well. Indies can't be found on Yahoo due to the layers of other junk. Currently there is a trickling of sponser entries on Google. They are highlighted to make them easy to spot so you don't have the endless chasing of dead ends on Yahoo.
  • It's actually a 8000 node cluster [slashdot.org] now.
  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:35AM (#130170) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure what the sources for the BBC article were but as I recall, Google has a 4000 node Linux cluster [techweb.com] running it, not "three large servers" as the BBC article satates.

    It's nice to see a good company with an excelant reputation braving the Equity Markets. Good luck to them.

    --CTH

    ---
  • by BoarderPhreak ( 234086 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:37AM (#130171)
    I don't know, but I think I'd wait until the economy/market improved a little...
  • Google is a good search engine and going IPO may ensure continuing service. But I fear that going IPO would force the company to divert itself from pure searching like what Excite, Altavista, etc. did.
  • by iomud ( 241310 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @06:13AM (#130174) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps they might also do indexing of data for corporate customers too. They have some pretty impressive partners [google.com] as it is.
  • What's not to like?

    So you don't mind completely sacrifcing your privacy and/or rights to anything you post to a Yahoo mailing list?

    From the Yahoo Groups Terms of Service:

    Yahoo does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service, you grant Yahoo the following world-wide, royalty free and non-exclusive license(s), as applicable:

    With respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of Yahoo! Clubs and Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purposes of providing and promoting the specific Yahoo! Club or Yahoo! Group to which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo removes such Content from the Service.

    With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible area of the Service other than Yahoo! Clubs or Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo removes such Content from the Service.

    With respect to Content other than photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service other than Yahoo! Clubs or Yahoo! Groups, the perpetual, irrevocable and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other works in any format or medium now known or later developed.


    In plain talk, Yahoo claims not to own anything you put up on a Geocities webpage, or post to a Yahoo-owned ML, *but* they retain the right to use anything and everything you post in any and every way they see fit.

    Post your original novel to a Yahoo E-group? You just gave all rights to your novel to Yahoo. Period.
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:57AM (#130176)
    Yahoo! was a bright light in all the dim confusion of the internet, circa 1994. They helped coin the term 'Search Engine', and created a wonderful place where you could find just about any site you wanted, any time you wanted. What advertisting there was was never intrusive. What you wanted to find you could, at least before the massive growth of the internet over the last decade. To many, Yahoo was as much a 'home' on the internet as there was.

    Now...

    Yahoo is a corporate behemoth, almost, but not quite as reviled as Microsoft. They are quick to settle upon 'Intellectual Property' and fire off lawsuits as if they were free. Remember Geocities? Yahoo Geocities. Remember E-Groups? Yahoo Groups. A quick and nimble company created by two guys out of their dorm room is now one of the most feared corporate instituations on the planet.

    Okay, Google, what did Yahoo do wrong here?
  • by whjwhj ( 243426 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @07:42AM (#130178)
    A privately held company has several advantages over a publicly head corporation:
    • The company is owned by a select group of founders and investors, instead of a large anonymous mob of stockholders. The founders and investors are likely to know what's better for the company than stockholders seeking only returns on their investment.
    • A private company's growth is a direct function of revenue, profit, and cash position. It's growth is a direct result of it's past successes. An IPO creates an unnatural influx of cash that the company didn't "earn" and doesn't necessarily know what to do with. It permits the company to spend money on things they wouldn't DREAM of spending money on if they were still private. In other words, it permits the company to make decisions and do things that are not necessarily good business.
    • Sometimes what's best for the company is NOT growth and profit. R&D, poor market conditions, etc. -- any number of reasons to lay low. But stockholders demand PERFORMANCE, dammit! Private companies can employ more restraint.
    • Private companies grow organically and typically foster a great deal of employee loyalty and a unique culture. Public companies grow way too fast and acquire smaller companies, destroying said loyalty and culture.
    • All too often, going public has nothing to do with what's good for the company, and everything to do with pure, unabated GREED. It all has to do with a few people who want to get very rich very fast. I say screw 'em. They should earn their fortunes the old fashioned way instead: WORK.
    Just looking around, I would say that a great deal of what's BAD about America is publicly held corporations. Since when is what is good for stockholders good for America? Big picture here, folks. I say better to have thousands of small private companies than 4 large public corporatations.

    Tim O'Reilly has stated more than once that he has no intention of bringing O'Reilly public (for many of the reasons I mention above). I applaud him for doing the right thing. Google shouldn't go public. They should succeed on their own merits.
  • A quick and nimble company created by two guys out of their dorm room [Yahoo] is now one of the most feared corporate instituations on the planet. Okay, Google, what did Yahoo do wrong here?

    From a Slashdot fortune: Nice guys don't finish nice.

    I don't think you appreciate how difficult it is to survive in a competitive marketplace. There's a reason that the biggest corporate entities in the world seem nasty - philanthropy and goodwill will only get you so far.

    To compete with the corporate dirtbags of the world, you've got to play by the house rules.

  • Neat! With Google Image Search I finally got to see what CmdrTaco [google.com] looks like (he looks a lot smilier than I thought :)

    -Kraft
  • Check out some of the prices here [google.com]. There are other options priced as well, if you click on the overview link.

    And, since you have to contact a sales rep for a custom quote if you want a custom solution, I'm guessing it's not very cheap :-)
  • So in a few months I can mail from fatcasper@google.com?


    Why is the sky blue?

  • I don't think MS would be able to invest thx to the anti-trust thing, else they would gobble up so many great (but unfortuantely economically troubled) rivals. VA Linux? Red Hat? MS could buy them up and put the tab on Steve Balmer's "Player's Club" card. But MS has a huge image problem right now...they've got to remain large while keeping a low profile. No more "Hotmail" or "C-NET" deals for MS...not for a while, anyway. I'm not saying they wouldn't LOVE to do so (and hell, we might benefit from it...SmartLinks to google searches would sure beat jumps to MSPROPAGANDA.ORG), just that it would look very bad...and we'd end up with a bunch of "Baby Bills."
  • Think of Google's strengths: low powered non wintel servers delivering fast pages with high quality and low download times with caching and a nice inline sponsor system.

    Google is everything that DotCom '99 WASN'T...it is neat, but without flash or fancy...in fact, the style of google is definitely lowtech (it looks the same on Lynx as it does in IE). Google really was the start of a new wave of successful content, and they're no doubt making tons of ducats leasing their machines and technology to anybody who needs to search...and it's actually GOOD. Hell, Google picked up my webpage AND I NEVER EVEN SUBMITTED IT. Neither did any of my linkers submit their pages...Google genuinely crawled to it, and even cached it (not a big hit...my front page is maybe 2k). Furthermore, surfers trust google because of it's high quality...it has no need to build a brand, because WoM has more than succeeded.

    If Google goes IPO, and manages to remain of high quality, it means the beginning of a new Dot com boom -- one based on everything the original wasn't, and uncovering the type of quality necessary to bring the web into the age of frictionless content we've needed. No banner ads, no obtuse simulacrums of greatness, just the same basic faced technology that make the toaster or the 24 oz. drinking glass such insanely great inventions.
  • That's a very good question. Although the article purports to answer it:

    The business, which is based in California, plans to break even before the end of the year, while analysts forecast annual revenues of about $50m by 2002.

    Google has built its revenues from advertising and also from licensing its proprietary search technology to other websites and portals.

    I hope this is better researched than the article's description of the servers! If I needed to buy a search engine, Google would be one of the first places I'd look, but how much can they get for that? And what happens when someone puts a better search engine on the market? The worst aspect of an IPO (in the USA at least) is that now the company is pretty much committed to showing a profit every quarter, and most software sells irregularly.

    I guess they do sell some advertising, but internet advertising is not a great revenue stream either. It's too easy for the advertisers to confirm that their advertisements are being ignored, so they put the big money into TV ads where they don't get direct confirmation of all the mute buttons going on & tapes being fast-forwarded... For another example of what's wrong with advertising, Google's own quite successful "advertising strategy" was to rely on word of mouth rather than paid advertising. Apparently you still don't have to advertise a product that stands out on its own merits!

  • Let's all just hope that when cash-rich individuals and companies snap up the IPO, they don't end up controlling Google. That's one of the big problems with going public. You can quickly lose control of your company's direction. Instead, you get to sit at the sidelines and watch while some of the majority owners dictate corporate direction that you KNOW will provide short term revenues, but long term death. I'm not saying that this happens all the time... just a possibility.

    Having said that, anybody know how we can get in on the IPO? Or is it, as usual, only open to the priveleged.

    GreyPoopon
    --

  • I hope that this IPO doesn't affect Google's on-site masseuses [salon.com]. That'd be a shame.

    Personally, I would still hold off on an IPO for a few months. While they could (potentially) start a trend if they did it now, they wouldn't get much at this stage in the game.
  • by Blue Aardvark House ( 452974 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @05:53AM (#130197)
    Not everyone is well versed in corporate finance. So here goes.

    IPO stands for Initial Public Offering. It's simply the first time that a company's stock is offered to the general public. It is underwritten by an investment bank, such as Bear Stearns [bear.com], where they function as the dealer for the stock. IPO's are useful since they provide much cash quickly for further investment and growth for the company.
  • Incorrect... Yahoo, has gone from 4.00(+/-) to 250.00(+/-) back down to 18.00 Amazon has gone from 2.00(+/-) to 110.00(+/-) back down to 12.50 in BOTH cases that is an increase of 0ver 400% from the initial offering...
  • What in the world are these morons smoking? If someone like VA Linux is going under even though they are actually selling a concrete product (for the most part), how does Google think that they will stay afloat? THEY DON'T EVEN SELL ANYTHING, FOR GOD SAKES!

    I think what they have failed to do is venture into the outside world in the last year, to witness that the days of dotcom hucksterism is over, and stock holders realize that you can't have a profitable company selling banner ad space.

    It's sad to see Google out there to prey on unwitting stock buyers, because you can be 99% certain that after the initial IPO at $160/share, they are going to fall even farther through the floor than VA has.

    Honestly, this is like hearing that Slashdot is going to announce an IPO. Nice product, but it won't make you a penny in profits.

  • by dfackrell ( 459465 ) on Monday June 25, 2001 @06:02AM (#130205)

    This is actually fairly simple.

    First, the ads don't show up on the start page, which is a good thing. That way you don't lose people right out of the chute.

    Second, the ads that they do feature don't look like ads. They're plain text. This is accomplished through their AdWords service which allows prominent placement just above the search results for companies whose chosen profile matches your search.

    This provides better speed, less frustration, and helps eliminate the feeling that you and your precious bandwidth are being sold indiscriminately.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

Working...