Google, now a part of parent Alphabet, is one of the most impressive companies to be born in the last two decades.
The domain was registered in 1997 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and the company was incorporated in 1998. The “Google Guys” worked out of a garage in Menlo Park, California, with a simple but ambitious mission: to organize the seemingly unlimited amounts of information scattered throughout the web.
It’s almost twenty years later, and we now know that Google’s monetization of search has changed the world. The company basically mints cash for investors each quarter, and this gives Alphabet the leeway from Wall Street to take an unprecedented amount of moonshots to find its next cash cow.
And while the vast majority of people are aware of Google’s success, there are also some things that are less widely known about the company and its history.
55 Facts You May Not Know About Google
The following infographic from BargainFox shares 55 facts on Google, including some that you may not have heard before.
While many have heard that Google was started in a garage (like various other billion dollar tech companies), it is less clear that the garage was owned by Susan Wojcicki, who is now the CEO of Youtube.
Likewise, it is widely known that the name Google was based off of the number “googol”, which is represented by numeral one and then followed by some 100 zeros. However, many people don’t realize that this number is symbolic: it represents the almost infinite amount of individual web pages on the internet, which Google aims to organize.
Lastly, while most advertisers are aware that some search terms are likely to cost more on Google, many do not know the crazy world of ultra-specific legal keywords. Terms like “San Antonio car wreck attorney” and “West Palm Beach criminal lawyer” are the most expensive search phrases to sponsor on Google.
By recent accounts, the most expensive search term these days is “best mesothelioma lawyers” which costs $194.40 per individual click. Law firms are willing to pay for leads, because mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Victims suffering from the disease are entitled to receive $1.1 million in compensation from the government within 30 days of their claim’s approval, and as a result, the cases can be very lucrative for lawyers.
A Visual History of the Largest Companies by Market Cap (1999-Today)
See how the world’s largest companies have changed over time, and how this helps tell a broader story about what the market is thinking.
A Visual History of the Largest Companies by Market Cap
The macro narrative that underlies the market is constantly under revision.
While this is partially a function of shifts in investor sentiment, it’s also driven by game-changing events as well as much more structural market forces.
For example, how does the macro narrative change after a commodity price crash? What about when the unprecedented scale of technology is truly understood by the market?
An Evolving Narrative
In this week’s chart, we look at how the big picture narrative has changed over time by using a very simple approach.
We have visualized the market capitalizations of the 10 largest public companies in the world over five-year intervals from 1999 until today, and it gives us a series of snapshots of what the market was “thinking” during these specific periods.
Not only is it evident as certain industries rise to prominence, but there are also some interesting individual stories to follow. We can see iconic companies – such as Apple – ascend into the public consciousness, while others fall off the radar completely.
|Year||Description||Top Company||Who Dominates Top 10?|
|1999||Dotcom Bubble||Microsoft ($583B)||Five tech companies in the mix|
|2004||Post-Bubble||GE ($319B)||Diverse mix of companies by industry|
|2009||Financial Crisis||PetroChina ($367B)||Six non-U.S. companies make list|
|2014||$100 Oil||Apple ($560B)||Last year for oil companies, tech starts ascending|
|2019||Big Tech Era||Microsoft ($1,050B)||Seven companies are tech|
The composition of the top 10 changes in each of the snapshots above, and this simple approach helps capture the market narrative for each timeframe.
During the Dotcom Bubble, you can see that half of the list was dominated by tech companies. This was short-lived, and the years 2004, 2009, and 2014 have much more diverse lists.
You can also see the impact of the financial crisis on U.S. company valuations. In 2009, there is an equal distribution of Chinese and American companies. Royal Dutch Shell (UK/Netherlands) and Petrobras (Brazil) help round out the top 10.
Finally, over the last five years, you can see the impact of lower oil prices and the growing scale of tech. Back in 2014, Exxon Mobil was the second largest company in the world by a solid margin, but today it’s been displaced by companies like Facebook, Amazon, Tencent, and Alibaba.
The Big Tech Era
Here is the current top 10 list of the world’s largest companies by market cap:
|#1||🇺🇸 Microsoft||Tech||$1,050 billion|
|#2||🇺🇸 Amazon||Tech||$943 billion|
|#3||🇺🇸 Apple||Tech||$920 billion|
|#4||🇺🇸 Alphabet||Tech||$778 billion|
|#6||🇺🇸 Berkshire Hathaway||Diversified||$507 billion|
|#7||🇨🇳 Alibaba||Tech||$435 billion|
|#8||🇨🇳 Tencent||Tech||$431 billion|
|#9||🇺🇸 Visa||Financial||$379 billion|
|#10||🇺🇸 Johnson & Johnson||Consumer Goods||$376 billion|
In total, the five biggest tech giants brought in a combined $801.5 billion in revenue last year, and $139 billion in net income.
The Staying Power of Microsoft
With a valuation today of just over $1 trillion, Microsoft is again the world’s largest company by market capitalization.
In this way, the above lists come full circle, since Microsoft was also the biggest company in 1999.
While the software giant experienced short periods where it did drop out of favor, Microsoft was the only company to make the list in our five snapshots above.
The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019
Technology brands account for 20 of the world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019, combining for a whopping 43% of total brand value.
The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019
Brand equity can be a challenging thing to build.
Even with access to deep pockets and an innovative product, it can take decades of grit to scrape your way into the mainstream consciousness of consumers.
On the path to becoming established as a globally significant brand, companies must fight through fierce competition, publicity scandals, changing regulations, and rapidly-evolving consumer tastes – all to take a bite from the same piece of pie.
Cream of the Crop
Today’s visualization comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it showcases the 100 most valuable brands in the world, according to Forbes.
Here are the powerful brands that sit at the very top of the list:
|Rank||Brand||Brand Value ($B)||1-Yr Value Change||Industry|
It should be noted that the list is ordered by brand value, a measure that tries to calculate each brand’s ultimate contribution in financial terms to the parent company. You can see that full methodology here.
Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that brands with only a token representation in the United States have been excluded from the rankings. This means companies like Alibaba or Vodafone are not represented in this particular visualization.
Tech Rules Again in 2019
For another straight year, technology dominates the list of the 100 most valuable brands in 2019 – this time, with six of the top seven entries.
Most of these brands saw double-digit growth in value from the previous year, including Apple (12%), Google (27%), Amazon (37%), Microsoft (20%), and Samsung (11%). The one notable exception here is Facebook, which experienced a 6% drop in value attributed to various struggles around the company’s reputation.
Here’s a look at how industries break down more generally on the list:
|Industry||# of Brands||Brand Value ($B)|
As you can see, technology brands make up 20% of the list in terms of the number of entries – and a whopping 43% of the list’s cumulative valuation.
In total, technologies brands combined for $957.6 billion in value. Even when including Facebook’s recent drop, this is an impressive 9.7% increase on last year’s numbers.
Will the double-digit increases for the world’s largest tech giants continue into 2020, or are brands such as Amazon and Google going to start seeing the same type of pushback that Facebook has grappled with among consumers and regulators?
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