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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 23:18 GMT
Google shares breach $500 barrier
Google user at the Frankfurt bookshow
Google was founded eight years ago - in a garage
Shares in internet search engine Google have breached the $500 mark.

They hit records of $510 during trading on the Nasdaq stock market, before closing $14.60 higher at $509.65.

Google shares have been boosted by strong growth, and expectations that the firm will continue to capitalise on the online advertising market.

It has also benefited from problems at its closest rival, Yahoo, which has suffered from a downturn in financial and car advertising in recent months.

Last month, Yahoo said quarterly profits had fallen 38% to $158m on the back of weak advertising revenues.

As a result analysts have been questioning Yahoo's long-term strategy, fearing that it is less nimble than some of its rivals.

Strength to strength

By comparison, Google said profits for the three months to the end of September had almost doubled to $733.4m.

And Google also looks to have made the most of its meteoric rise.

So far it has made most of its money from advertising, which it posts next to its search results and other content.

In October it snapped up video-sharing website YouTube in a deal worth $1.65bn (883m), and experts say the firm looks set to benefit from the purchase.

The move should give it a key spot in the emerging online video market, and help it become a leading provider of web-based video advertising space.

"Arguably, Google is positioning itself yet again to play in an emerging market that is going to be very significant," David Garrity, director of research for Dinosaur Securities, told Reuters.

New markets

Meanwhile, the company's management have also voiced ambitions to widen its advertising net beyond the web.

It recently reached a deal to become a broker of newspaper advertising for some of its online ad clients and also has its eye on targeting the radio advertising market.

Shares in the company have surged since it listed at $85 on the US market in August 2004.

The latest price rise means Google has joined a group of only six other firms that trade above that level, including Berkshire Hathaway and pork processor Seaboard.

The increase also means that Google is now valued at more than $155bn, making it America's third largest technology firm behind Microsoft and Cisco Systems.

And while Google shares took 12 months to rise from $400 to $500, analysts see no sign of its stocks slowing down. They predict it will hurdle the $600 a share barrier in the coming year.

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