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At a Glance

Uppers

Best-in-class perks and benefits

Positive working environment where employees feel valued

Company name works wonders on future résumés

Downers

Large company with some bureaucracy and politics

Era of explosive growth may well be over

Company faces increasing threat from younger competitors

The Bottom Line

Google hires up to 4,000 employees per year, but receives around 1 million applications. There's a reason for those numbers: the firm is widely regarded as one of top two or three employers anywhere in the world.

About Google LLC

If you don't know what the term Google means, there's a leading search engine you can use to find out. Core to the Google's business is its ubiquitous Search product; other key products and platforms include Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Play, and YouTube, which each have over one billion monthly active users worldwide. The firm generates revenue through ad sales in two categories: Performance Advertising creates and delivers relevant ads that users click on, and Brand Advertising lets businesses run ad campaigns to promote brand awareness. Google is owned by Alphabet Inc., a holding company that also includes emerging businesses such as self-driving cars and drone delivery.

Operations

Because the technology industry demands constant innovation, Google has been nothing short of relentless in its efforts to develop or acquire new services and products. Since its founding as search engine, the company has branched out to provide a wide range of popular services such as Webmail (Gmail), interactive maps (Google Maps), Web browsing (Google Chrome), voice search (Google Assistant), and video (YouTube).

In addition, its Android operating system is a platform for mobile products. Google hardware includes Pixel 3 phones, Chromebook laptops, Google Nest, and the Google Home Hub smart display. The company sells digital content such as apps, music, and movies through Google Play Store. It also offers a suite of cloud computing services through Google Cloud. 

Beyond its advertising business, which accounts for the majority of revenue (85%), the firm generates a smaller share of revenue (about 15%) from apps, movies, music, and other digital content purchased through Google Play; the sale of Google hardware devices; and Google Cloud offerings. Parent company Alphabet's non-Google offerings, which fall under the "Other Bets" business unit, account for less than half a percent of the holding company's revenue. 

Despite this plethora of diverse offerings, Google's original mission still remains: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. 

Geographic Reach

The Mountain View, California-based Google operates from more than 80 offices in some 50 countries. International domains include Google.ba, Google.dm, Google.nr, Google.co.jp and Google.ca, and the Google interface is available in more than 100 languages.

The US accounts for about 45% of Alphabet's revenue, and Google is responsible for nearly all of Alphabet's revenue. Europe, Middle East, and Africa accounts for the next largest share of business (about 33%), followed by the Asia/Pacific region (some 15%), and Other Americas (about 5%).

Sales and Marketing

Google's parent company Alphabet reported sales and marketing expenses of $15.3 billion, $12.9 billion, and $10.5 billion in 2018, 2017, and 2016, respectively. In 2018 the firm reported an increase in promotion related expenses for its Google Cloud offerings and the Google Assistant product, as well as a 12% increase in headcount for employees in sales and marketing and related support functions.

Financial Performance

While Alphabet replaced Google as the company's publicly-traded entity in 2015, Alphabet's non-Google offerings, which fall under the "Other Bets" business unit, accounted for less than half a percent of the holding company's revenue in 2018. Operating as Google or Alphabet during the last five fiscal years, the company has reported year-over-year revenue growth fueled by the increasing penetration of the internet across demographics and geographies. Sales have doubled since 2014. 

In 2018 sales grew 23% to $136.8 billion, led by an increase in mobile search and higher advertiser activity. Google experienced growth in video advertising on YouTube, as well as growth in desktop search due to improvements in ad formats and delivery. The company also reported strength in programmatic buying and higher revenue from Google Cloud offerings, hardware sales, and in-app purchases.

Net income more than doubled in 2018, rising from $12.7 billion to $30.7 billion. The company benefited from a lower effective corporate tax rate thanks to the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in 2017. It also reported higher other income related to the adoption of new accounting standards.

Cash at the end of 2018 was $16.7 billion, an increase of $6 billion from the prior year. Cash from operations contributed $48 billion to the coffers, while investing activities used $28.5 billion, mainly for capital expenditures. Financing activities used another $13.2 billion.

Strategy

A key part of Google's strategy is to deepen, enhance, and further the integration of its Google Cloud Platform. It also focused on continually improving the quality and applicability of its voice and translation services, strengthening security, rolling out machine-learning and natural language processing, and enhancing its G Suite of communication tools (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and Hangouts). Its Chrome Enterprise is an integrated back-end solution that provides the tools needed to run a business. 

Meanwhile, as consumers increasingly use smart phones to access the internet, more people are looking at Google's ads more often. However, the company's growth — while still positive — may be showing signs of a slowdown. Mobile ad views have increased substantially, but these ads cost less than ads viewed on desktop computers, so the price Google can command for mobile ads is less. 

Despite massive and rapid growth (or, perhaps, because of it), Google faces its fair share of challenges. Critics of the company have alleged it engages in anti-competitive practices, privacy violations, and data leaks, among other transgressions. Another concern for the company is rising costs. Google is spending more to acquire content for YouTube, market new hardware products, and build new data centers. 

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2019 Google agreed to buy Looker, a developer of software for analyzing big data, for $2.6 billion in cash. Looker would become part of the Google Cloud unit, providing the unit's customers with business intelligence. The companies have done business together and share about 350 customers. The deal is Google's biggest since the $3.4 billion acquisition of Nest in 2014. The transaction was expected to close in 2019.

Earlier in 2019 Google agreed to acquire Alooma, a company that helps companies move data from multiple locations to one data warehouse, to accelerate growth of its cloud operations. In Google's case that single data warehouse would be its Google Cloud service. Google wants to make it as easy as possible to move customers to it cloud services as it tries to catch up with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Azure cloud services.

 

Company Background

Google is the product of two computer science grad students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who met in 1995 at Stanford University where they studied methods of searching and organizing large datasets. They discovered a formula to rank the order of random search results by relevancy, and in 1997 they adopted the name Google to their findings. In 1998 the two presented their discovery at the World Wide Web Conference, and by 1999 they had raised almost $30 million in funding from private investors, venture capital firms, and Stanford University. Later that year the Google site was launched.

In 2014 the once highly secretive company went public in one of the most anticipated IPOs ever, raising $1.6 billion. Alphabet was launched the following as the holding company for Google and other subsidiaries. The corporate restructure was designed to provide some separation between Google's core search business and its increasingly diverse side projects. Alphabet replaced Google as the publicly-traded entity.

Google LLC

1600 AMPHITHEATRE PKWY
Mountain View, CA 94043-1351
Phone: 1 (650) 253-0000

Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
VP and CEO, Google Israel: Meir Brand
CEO: Sundar Pichai
SVP and CFO, Alphabet Inc. and Google, Inc.: Ruth M. Porat
Employees (This Location): 250
Employees (All Locations): 61,814

Major Office Locations

Mountain View, CA

Other Locations

Culver City, CA
Irvine, CA
Milpitas, CA
Mountain View, CA
San Bruno, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
San Mateo, CA
San Ramon, CA
Venice, CA
Boulder, CO
Washington, DC
Atlanta, GA
Austell, GA
Chicago, IL
Elk Grove Village, IL
Cambridge, MA
Ann Arbor, MI
Birmingham, MI
Southfield, MI
Chapel Hill, NC
Charlotte, NC
Moriarty, NM
New York, NY
Portland, OR
Pittsburgh, PA
Ashburn, VA
Reston, VA
Kirkland, WA
Madison, WI
Kitchener, Canada
Toronto, Canada