Google (GOOG) (GOOGL) went public on August 19, 2004, and its 19.6 million shares were priced at $85 each. Today, a share in Google can cost you upwards of $668. If you had purchased one share in Google back in 2004, it would be worth $1,344.80 today, as adjusted by last year's GOOG and GOOGL stock split, according to InvestorPlace. That amounts to a return of 1,482 percent, or a 28.5 percent annualized growth rate.
2014 was a big year for Google. Its full-year revenue was $66 billion, up 19 percent year over year. By August 2014, the company's revenues topped all but 40 U.S. companies. Meanwhile its market capitalization — over $400 billion as of mid-July this year — is among the largest on the planet.
Google was among the biggest spenders on R&D in 2014, according to Statista. It spent $8 billion on R&D and was granted 2,566 U.S. patents. In contrast, Apple spent just over $6 billion in R&D and was granted 2,003 U.S. patents. Among other big spenders were Volkswagen ($13.5 billion), Microsoft ($10.4 billion) and Toyota ($9.4 billion).
Google's better-known developments include Google Glass, Google Fiber, self-driving technology and balloons intended to deliver internet to rural and remote areas. In a 2004 IPO letter, Google said it would not hesitate to make big bets on "promising new opportunities":
Ever wonder, How does Google make money? The answer is right before your eyes — at least when you're googling. For fifteen quarters, Google has increased how much money it makes from advertising, and how many ads it sells. In a second quarter earnings report, Google announced revenues of $17.7 billion, an 11 percent increase from the year before. Of that $17 billion, roughly $16 billion came from ad revenue.
According to the company's annual report for 2014, 68.3 percent of its advertising revenue came from Google websites and 21.2 percent came from Google Network Members websites, which includes AdSense. Here's a look at the annual growth of Google's advertising revenue since 2001.
A 2007 Marketplace interview with Google co-founder Sergey Brin revealed that around one percent of all Google searches are made using the search engine's "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. Because "I'm Feeling Lucky" users circumvent search results — and thus, advertisements — Google is losing over $110 million in ad revenue every year, according to 2007 calculations from Rapt's Tom Chavez.
So, if the button is costing Google so much money why keep it? In the same interview, former Google Executive Marissa Mayer said the button remains because, "It's possible to become too dry, too corporate, too much about making money. I think what's delightful about 'I'm Feeling Lucky' is that it reminds you there are real people here."
Since the company launched in 1998, Google has acquired more than 170 companies, according to Business Insider. Acquisitions of companies like Urchin Software Corporation, Neotonic Software and YouTube have helped fuel the company's suite of products. Most famously, however, Google purchased Motorola in its biggest acquisition to date.
Motorola, Google's largest acquisition to date, cost the company $12.5 billion in 2011. Two years later, Motorola was sold to Lenovo for a paltry $2.91 billion after becoming unprofitable. Spotify nearly became Google's biggest purchase earlier this year, but the $14.1 billion acquisition was called off after concerns with artist compensation.
Google is increasing how much it spends on lobbying, according to Reuters. The company spent $16.8 million lobbying in 2014. By the end of the first quarter this year, Google had already spent $5.5 million. Its lobbying efforts that quarter had focused on:
Former CFO of Morgan Stanley, Ruth Porat, will reportedly make over $70 million in a cash and stock deal with Google. The new CFO will receive a $5 million cash signing bonus after spending a year at Google, and a $25 million stock grant over the next couple of years. Starting next year, she will also receive a $40 million stock grant every other year, which will vest over the course of four years.
In January 1997, Larry Page, who founded Google with Sergey Brin, offered to sell the company to an internet portal called Excite for $1.6 million — but the deal fell through. Today, Google is worth $358 billion more than what Page wanted to sell it for nearly 18 years ago.
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