While Google keeps marching on, danger looms.
Google closed the week at $637.39, more than 50 times its earnings, giving it a market capitalization that nearly equals the total value of the three largest traditional media companies: Time Warner, Walt Disney and the News Corporation. Even at Google’s current stock price, 34 of the 38 analysts following the company have buy recommendations, according to Thomson Financial.
Fred Hickey, editor of The High-Tech Strategist newsletter in Nashua, N.H., is one of the few willing to call Google’s stock surge “insanity.” But even he isn’t predicting when it might end. He has placed a tiny bet against Google, but no more. “You cannot short a mania,” he said.
But Silicon Valley start-ups and venture capitalists are betting that there is room for major innovation in search. Powerset and Haika are two well-financed start-ups working on natural-language search, where a user types a question instead of keywords.