Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Googe's Initial Public Ogling

Despite a Bloomberg report a few days ago about Google futures, suggesting that the stock price would tend to increase - maybe settling more in the neighborhood of $115 - Google has sold about 20 million shares at around $85, way toward the low end of projections. But still much higher than my estimate of Google's eventual price: $7-$9 per share.

My friend John Levine points out that imaginary numbers in stock prices might be useful for valuing acquisitions, which are so often justified in terms of "synergies" that seldom pan out. Multiply an imaginary stock price by another imaginary stock price, and you get a real number - a real negative number. Google will probably make quite a few acquisitions, even if its winnings in this IPO turn out very modest compared to hyped expectations. So here's my investment advice: listen for the S-word in Google acquisition PR, and take up short positions when you're sure the buyout will go through on stock-swap terms. You might start a Google News Alert for yourself, with "Google", "synergy", "acquisition" and "stock-swap" as the search terms. You can't lose with this one. Really. Remember, you heard it hear first.

My friend Michael Harris mentions something I didn't know: Physics Today runs full-page ads by Google, listing obscure math problems and asking people to e-mail their solutions if they want a job at Google. Weird. Interesting. What are they up to, anyway?

Well, I think I've got a clue. I've read that Google aims not just to be able to search the Web more comprehensively and efficiently, but to actually automate understanding of what's out there on the Web. (Good luck with my blog entries, Google!)

Now, think about this for a minute. Understanding the Web that its reading will put Google's supercomputer complexes in a position to take over the world. Taking over the world: what a brilliant business strategy, eh? (Or maybe not - I wonder how much aliens would pay for Earth right now if you put it on the transgalactic market? Maybe we're just a penny stock.)

In any case, Google's plan for global domination is going to require some very smart people indeed, and the world is awash in underemployed physicists. So this Google Physics Today ad campaign sounds pretty smart to me. Then again ... what do I know? Only what Google tells me, these days.


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