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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Will you buy shares in Google?
Google logo
Google, the internet's number one search engine, has confirmed that it is to float on the stock market.

Google said it would list its shares either on the Nasdaq or New York stock exchange, selling as much as $2.7bn of its stock.

It is rumoured that the company could offer their shares online, rather than issuing them through the usual routes.

Experts predict the offering could value the firm at $20bn or more, once further details of the deal are set out.

A successful float could revive interest in the flagging technology sector.

Would you buy shares in Google?


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Definitely not. The stock on offer to the general public carries no voting rights. In addition Google has explicitly stated that they do not intend to pay dividends. So what would I get out of owning this stock? The hope that in the future someone will pay me more for the stock than I paid. However Google already dominates the search engine industry, so how will it expand?
Andrew, kilrush, Ireland

I will buy Google shares, because they are the most useful service on the Internet. I want to help keep it that way. I care much more about the quality and independence of their services than about profits and dividents. I hope many other potential share holders will do the same.
Markus, Cambridge, UK

I would advise anyone contemplating the purchase of shares, in any company, to seek professional advice
Anon
As a trained Independent Financial Adviser (not commission based before the cynics start griping) I would advise anyone contemplating the purchase of shares, in any company, to seek professional advise to ensure the investment suits their attitude to risk and investment objectives.
Anon,

If it was 1993 again when I first got online, and they were Yahoo, I'd sell my mother for shares. Not today though. I'd look for the new gravy train.
Steve B, Edinburgh, Scotland

The on line share auction is likely to lead to a gross inflated offer price as we saw in the Last Minute.com float. Private investors beware...
Becky, London

I've been looking for a place to invest with a promise of good, steady, reliable and secure rates of return. So, thank goodness for Google. Their search machine has been wonderful in helping me to find a good investment return with a UK Building Society.
Art, UK.

Absolutely not. Having recently returned from 3 weeks in Europe I discovered what others already know - Google sensors negative stories about the war in Iraq from readers in America. At a time when Americans are struggling to understand the truth, this is a deplorable act.
Sheri Kirkland, Los Angels, USA

some of us are just trying to make ends meet and don't have the spare cash to buy shares!
Ann, London
Strange as it might seem to the BBC, some of us are just trying to make ends meet and don't have the spare cash to buy shares!
Ann, London

I asked Jeeves and he didn't think it was a good idea!
Sam , Sheffield, UK

Until recently, I would have jumped at the chance. However now that Microsoft has announced its intentions to compete with Google, I can't help but remember how the once ubiquitous Netscape fell from favour when Internet Explorer hit the market. Google may have to work hard to avoid falling under a similar hammer.
Paul D, Bristol, UK

I would buy only if I could invest as a private individual and not have to go through any banks.
Luke Burke , London, England

If I had the money!
Brendan , Belfast

I see numerous posts from people saying that Google can't be worth $20bn, that they only make money from advertising etc. What people don't know, and probably can't be bothered to investigate, is that they also sell their search technology to other companies. CNN for example, uses Google search technology.

If Google are bought out by a larger company, their stock will shoot through the roof
Ian, Nottingham, UK
Do these people even know that AOL uses Google search technology? Probably not. If Google are bought out by a larger company, their stock will shoot through the roof - who doesn't want a piece of that?

I'll be giving Google a month or two before I invest, post IPO. If I lose out, that's my problem, but can I see it happening? Not in the short term.
Ian, Nottingham, UK

No. The issue will be massively overpriced and become a miniature .com bubble all of it's own. The way to make a fortune out of Google is not to buy it now, when it is up and running, but to have invested in it five years ago. Good luck to the vendors, but they won't be getting any of my money.
Bob Harvey, Lincs, UK

Sure! Google rocks. Gmail will make Yahoo and MSN run for their money.
Ahmede Hussain, Dhaka, Bangladesh

I will, anything to make a quick pound. I buy now, price goes up with latest public interest, I'll sell and treat my family to a nice holiday. That's what happened with Freeserve, get in quick and out quick. It is greedy people who stay and get burnt. The price is unlikely to remain high given that the model can be copied so easily. Competition will rise again.
Stephen UK, UK (England)

Dot com are just now becoming a viable reality
Kevin, USA
Jo, USA represents the typical lack of insight common to investors today. Dot com are just now becoming a viable reality. Online spending is several times what it was during the bubble. Investors who are less fickle ultimately reap the reward.
Kevin, USA

I would buy if I could afford them. The method selling them (auction) seems to prevent any Stag profits i.e. won't be able to sell two days later and make a quick profit. There is also a lot of hype always a bad sign.
However this definitely one of those buys where in ten years people say either I was lucky I bought Google in '04 or I was unlucky one bought Google in '04. Only some equity is being sold and that is to get venture capitalist off Google's back.
Ed, Mackay Australia

If one wants to sleep well at night they should not buy shares. Investing is always risky.
Edward Bryant, Paris, France

it's a pretty safe investment
Janet Paulin, Philippines/Australia
I would love to buy stock from Google because I know it will only get bigger as more and more businesses establish online. Contrary to what many people think, Google's source of revenue is not advertising alone. As a matter of fact, advertising is just the smallest source.

Many search engines (i.e. Yahoo!) pay Google to power its own search engine. Many businesses too have to pay Google if they want to have a high listing in searches. And Google is undeniably the most powerful search engine in the world.

What's more, they continually add value to their service. Google has my full confidence. Compared to other IT-based companies that crashed after the internet bubble burst. Google has established a strong and profitable presence in the IT industry even before going public! So it's a pretty safe investment.
Janet Paulin, Philippines/Australia

Yes, I will. Google is a great company, stable, and a company that is "not evil." Even after going public, I think, Google is going to keep its fine standards up.
Falak Shah, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Google has not made it easy for the small investor
Joe Mills, St Albans

I would have liked to buy stock at the IPO but unfortunately Google has not made it easy for the small investor to do so. It has become such a benchmark that the IPO will inevitably be hugely successful and the stock will be priced on the high end. I will see how it starts trading before deciding to buy post IPO. However, I think a smarter investment will be to buy an under priced competitor that will benefit from Google's slipstream.
Joe Mills, St Albans, England

Maybe in a year or so. I like the attitude that comes across.
D Pardee, Sag, USA

I will probably add Google to my portfolio of economic all-stars! Course, I'll wait a few months first, to see how the stock performs.
Peter Bolton, US

Nope, not a chance. A waste of money if you ask me. Dot coms are past their prime and definitely wouldn't call Google a Phoenix.
Jo, USA

I have a lot of respect for Google technically. I was a user of the web before Google existed and the search engines then were really quite bad in comparison. However, I'm not interested in shares in them because their only form of revenue I know about is from advertising and I've yet to be convinced that web advertising works. I'm personally very unlikely to ever click on a "paid for" link after a google search.
Richard, UK

Being a business owner, I have learnt Google provides excellent means of advertising, which is a slight cut above the rest, but for how long? There is always a big risk in any investment, I feel it is just a case of the end justifying the means. Would I buy shares in Google? Yes I would, and I would hope they would continue to try and stay ahead of the competition, the next year or so will be very interesting.
Ross Keeley, London

What made Google so popular was its non-commercial methods of search results
Gina, US
Probably not. What made Google so popular was its non-commercial methods of search results. As soon as the bottom line becomes more important than quality service, its no longer better than the other headache-inducing search engines out there.
Gina, US

Don't invest in a service like Google, the idea is totally ludicrous. The purpose of a floated company is to increase shareholder value, at the expense of all else, especially in the US. This will inevitable lead to a reduction in service. Don't do it. Ever.
Tim, Andover, UK

What? And pay US taxes? No way!
Ajana Zabel, Singapore

As soon as the advertising / links & pop ups appear, the current users will disappear overnight.
Ian, Bradford UK

Take a look at Teoma, much more organised. Buy Google and just watch your money disappear (just like mine when I bought Yahoo shares)
Oliver, Berlin

Like most company's that float, Google's service will get worse when the share holders complain about lagging profits. Meaning Google will soon be packed with useless eye candy like all the other search engines... RIP Google.
Nik, UK

I see Google as a very short-term investment. I would not be surprised to see Google bought out within 12 months of offering the shares by a group which is looking for an internet presence, i.e. Time Warner. They have reduced AOL and it is seen as a loss leader, which the group could afford to lose. Google would make a nice replacement.
Chris Green, Liverpool UK

Google has been at the top of their market for a couple of years
Val, Sacramento, USA
Google has been at the top of their market for a couple of years, making them the biggest target out there. Both Yahoo and Microsoft have publicly stated their intentions to take market share from Google. Perhaps you should ask Sony what the XBOX did to the PlayStation market before you run out and buy shares in the next Microsoft victim.
Val, Sacramento, USA

Although Google has an impressive record and a sizable share of the industry, there are just too many wildcards that make an investment in the company very risky. To start with, the use of its own search engine by Yahoo has dealt a major blow to Google's revenues. There is also a general perception that although the structure of Google was good for a start-up, it might not be suited for the running of a multi-billion dollar corporation striving to maintain its customer base. Consequently, I would decide not to buy their stock.
Ahsan Maykan, Lahore, Pakistan

Before I invest in Google, I'll have to do some research with, ummmm, Google to find the answers.
Marc Brett, Teddington, UK

Yes, if you tell me where to buy them from.
Andrew, UK

Definitely. Google is going places and has the capacity to effect what people think, know and understand about the world at large and I think it would be good to own a little part of big brother.
Alden Goodman, Portland, Oregon, USA

Surely people have learnt from the dot-com bubble
Simon, Brighton, England
Surely people have learnt from the dot-com bubble. How can google be worth 20bn? It basically just sells crudely targeted advertising, albeit with a massive audience. It won't take much to make people switch should something better come along.
Simon, Brighton, England

Any chance to get in on a high profile IPO is worth it. But I severely doubt the general public will get a chance until the investment banks and so on have already made all the money...
David Grant, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Nope. While I think Google is a great service, it will eventually be a victim of short-sighted top-level management ruining it for quick returns. I won't be buying any high-profile 'sure bets' in the IT sector.
Kenneth Young, Dallas TX

Of course I'll be buying shares in Google
Imran, Manchester, UK
Of course I'll be buying shares in Google. Not to buy shares in the proven phoenix of the dotcom ashes would be plain silly.
Imran, Manchester, UK

The worlds most visited website? The world's most advanced website? Wealth of advertisers? Yes, I think I'd like some of that.
Michael Joslin, New Malden, United Kingdom

No, I won't. Domino's Pizza is also going public and Americans are far more likely to stuff their faces than do research on the Internet. My profits are always better when I rely on food stocks.
Jeffrey, Portland, USA

Looking around this city, it is hard to ignore the lessons of the tech boom and bust. California thought the good times would never end, and look at us now. A lot of people will view Google as a way to get rich quick, but I'm not going to risk anything I can't spare on the chance this stock won't blow up like all the others did.
Matthew, San Francisco, USA





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