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Phuket Business: Why Google is still the best

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Phuket Business: Why Google is still the best | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The word ‘Google’ is a household name, synonymous with the word ‘search’ or even ‘research’ for most people around the world. The name itself originated from the word ‘Googol’, coined by Milton Sirotta, meaning the number 1 followed by 100 zeros; basically an extremely large number. It represents the vast universe of information that Google makes available to the world.

Starting with a simple search interface in 1996 (formerly known as Backrub), the Google we use today is a diversified internet services company, providing services that range from internet searches to communications software.

The company took the world by storm with its fast, simple search engine, later adding on services such as Google talk, Gmail, Google Checkout and Google Earth. One of its latest products, the Android, is an open source mobile platform.

One of the greatest breakthroughs made by Google was Google AdSense, its revolutionary ‘matching’ technology, which enabled advertisers to target specific keywords that defined its audience in terms of subject matter and geography.

Today Google is the undisputed global leader in search engines, with an estimated market share of 71%, up from about 60% in 2006. Its competitors such as Yahoo!, MSN and AOL lag far behind, primarily on account of its sheer simplicity and speed.

Since Google went public in 2004, investors have made an absolute return of over 600% through February 19, 2013. During this period, Google has consistently provided growing returns as measured in terms of earnings per share. Its profit margins are relatively stable and revenues are growing at a healthy rate.

Despite its obvious diversification, its search engine is its bread and butter, with about 90% of revenues coming from Adwords. It is important to note that its Android platform has seen very healthy growth in a short period of time, capturing an estimated 34% market share and the highest number of apps for any mobile platform, including Apple and Blackberry.

Google has been involved with a large number of acquisitions and is pegged to acquire a new company every 2 weeks.

The management has clearly identified this as a part of their business strategy, with social media at the forefront of their priorities.

Technically speaking Google’s price action is acting very well. After going public in 2004, Google climbed up 400% before correcting in the 2007-2008 bear market. From the November 2008 bear market low, Google has now climbed over 200% reaching a high in February 2013 of US$808. It now trades higher than the 2007 level, which occurred just before the US Financial Crisis in 2008. Google trades above its 50 and 200-day moving averages, which is also a positive technical sign.

Google and many other technology related stocks currently have all the characteristics of past winning stocks: annual earnings increases, price at new highs, institutional sponsorship, and new innovative products.

Does your portfolio need exposure to Google? Consider investing in the following Exchange-Traded Funds which have at least a 5% weighting: First Trust DJ Internet Index Fund (FDN), PowerShares NASDAQ Internet Portfolio (PNQI), iShares Goldman Sachs Technology Index Fund (IGM) and Vanguard Information Technology Fund (VGT).

Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand.

He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: freemancapital@gmail.com.

— Don Freeman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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