Alphabet Inc (Google) Class A

Alphabet Inc (Google) Class ANASDAQ
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Jan 232023

Join the club

It was looking like it might be able to make it through without layoffs, but Google has finally caved.

  • Google has announced plans to let go of 12k employees – representing 6% of its global workforce. In a staff memo, it was said that the company faces a “different economic reality” than the one in which they hired. It's just the latest in the tech-layoff frenzy of 2023, with Microsoft, Amazon and others already having done the same.
  • The layoffs are part of a wider effort to refocus the company towards its AI projects – something which Microsoft is also doubling down on with plans to invest $10bn in OpenAI. With tech stocks down YoY across the board, they’re looking to reinvent themselves to weather current economic conditions.
  • The Alphabet Workers Union (Alphabet is Google’s parent company) was far from pleased, claiming that jobs have been placed on the chopping block so that shareholders can see marginal benefit next quarter. In the current economic climate however, it seems the rulebook is out the window.
ThisisEngineering RAEng / Unsplash

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Jan 202023

Google's Android woes

A new antitrust ruling in India threatens Google’s Android business model.

  • India’s Supreme Court has ruled that Google should not be allowed to force pre-install its apps on smartphones running its mobile OS Android. It’s a major financial setback for the tech giant in one of its key growth markets. It has also hit Google with a $161m fine.
  • The regulator also ruled that it should not be allowed to prevent the deletion of its apps, such as Maps, YouTube and Chrome. With 97% of smartphones in India running Android, the impact of the ruling on its revenue in the region could be substantial. By comparison, Apple’s iOS only commands 3% of the market.
  • It’s not the first jurisdiction to consider some of Google’s practices a step too far. In Europe, the tech giant was fined $4.3bn in 2018 for its Android licensing terms – in a ruling which the company has challenged. Google even claimed that India’s ruling was so similar to that of Europe, that they had “copy-and-pasted” the ruling and didn’t properly examine the evidence.
Denny Müller/ Unsplash
Jan 162023

A matter of (anti)trust

Despite its share price performing relatively well recently, a few bumps in the road could threaten Google’s tech dominance.

  • Google is under the spotlight for its data collection practices, amid an antitrust probe taking place in Germany led by Andreas Mundt. The regulator is claiming that the company unfairly disadvantages competition by limiting its customers’ options regarding how their data is collected.
  • It’s a significant development for the tech industry and could become a landmark case with implications on other major tech companies like Meta and Apple – which was also formally warned by the regulator that its user terms could violate antitrust law.
  • It’s not the only issue Google has on its plate right now. Last week, Microsoft moved to invest $10bn in OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which could threaten Google’s search engine dominance.
Web Summit / Flickr
Dec 232022

Game day

Google’s continuing its push to make YouTube the place to be for sports, with a major deal making that more likely.

  • The NFL has announced a $2bn deal with Google’s YouTube, which will see its Sunday Ticket subscription available for streaming on YouTube TV. The deal will reportedly continue for at least 7 years.
  • It’s not the only streaming service looking to capitalize on the sports industry. Last year, Paramount signed an 11-year contract to show NFL games, and Disney is reportedly paying $2.7bn per year for the rights to show its Monday Night Football schedule.
  • Youtube TV has been reaching milestones in its race to compete with other streaming services. In July this year, it surpassed 5m subscribers. It’s still behind the likes of Disney however, whose Disney+ streaming service recently reported 14.4m subscribers.
Ryan Reinoso/ Unsplash
Dec 092022

Citation needed

Big tech just can’t seem to catch a break this year, with Google now being held responsible for whether its listings are factually correct.

  • A top European court has ruled that Google must remove factually incorrect search result data. The ruling was sparked by a case brought by two executives at an investment group, whose names were causing articles criticizing the company to appear when searched.
  • It’s pretty significant for the search-engine giant, as it may now have to spend significant time and resources actively removing inaccurate search results if the case becomes precedent. The ruling also said that users can present their own evidence and do not require judicial approval.
  • It’s not the ruling Google was hoping to hear. With a 35% drop in share price since the start of the year and already dealing with a class-action antitrust lawsuit brought last month, they probably aren't in a hurry to be using up more resources than they have to.
Oct 262022

The digital ad disease spreads

Google’s earnings handed us more of the same dismal news we’ve received from other tech giants so far as YouTube sees its ad revenue weakness worsened.

  • Alphabet shares sank 7% in extended trading on Tuesday after reporting a weaker-than-expected Q3, posting EPS of $1.06 vs the $1.25 expected on revenues of $69.09bn vs the $70.58bn expected. This is the weakest period of growth for the company since 2013, other than one period early-pandemic, with revenue growth slowing to 6% from 41% a year earlier.
  • YouTube’s digital ad revenue was front and center, which made a significant decline all the more disappointing – ad revenue slid 2% vs the 3% increase expected, marking the segment’s first drop since Google started reporting its metrics, coming in at $7.07bn. As others are, Alphabet will be cutting costs and focusing on profitability to make up for the losses.
  • It’s an ominous start to Big Tech earnings week, though perhaps not an all-that-surprising one given Snap’s prelude last week – however, there were many who hoped that declines in other big tech giants’ ad revenue was company-specific, but this shows that the advertising slowdown is all encompassing and likely here to stay. Guess we better buckle in.
See all reported financials
Sara Kurfess / Unsplash
Sep 132022

Google’s subsidiary success

Google’s core business may have faced some hurdles last quarter but its subsidiaries are carrying the team to victory, with special mention to its secret high-speed telecom project.

  • Gone are the days of having no access to the outside world while on a plane, and it’s all thanks to Google’s latest spinoff, Aalyria, which was unveiled on Monday. Ok ok it’s not all because of them, but we’re making a point here – the company has made “radical” improvements to satellite communications, Wi-Fi on planes and ships and cellular connectivity.
  • The spinoff comes as parent company Alphabet faces declining revenues on the back of a industry pullback on ad spending, and now looks for ways to either advance or wind down its experimental projects – Aalyria has a $8.7m commercial contract with the US Defense Department so seems like it can hold its own.
  • Elsewhere in Googleland, they officially own the firm that found the SolarWinds hack. The $5.4bn cybersecurity acquisition of Mandiant finally closed this week after it was announced back in March, and will be utilized to secure the data on Google’s cloud infrastructure – something that all of the big three public cloud providers are focusing on.
Jul 272022

The soothing sound of ad revenue trickling in

Despite an onslaught of what a lot of companies are calling “global uncertainty”, Google parent Alphabet manages to (partly) soothe the souls of big tech investors.

  • Alphabet shares lifted a modest but still positive 3% in extended trading on Tuesday despite missing on both ends of expectations with EPS of $1.21 on revenues that grew 13% (compared to 62% growth a year earlier) to come in at a sexy $69.69bn. Other metrics like YouTube ad revenue, Google Cloud revenue, and traffic acquisition costs all missed expectations too.
  • Google search ad revenue was holding up the team here. Travel and retail advertisers helped boost search ad sales by 14% to hit $40.69, though overall ad revenue jumped only 12% to $56.3bn as marketers adjusted to inflationary pressures – a 5% increase in YouTube ad spend was the biggest deceleration, from 84% the year before (thanks TikTok) but the market was kinda prepared for it after the Snap disaster.
  • Not even Google is immune to macroeconomic headwinds, leading to concerns about the brand’s outlook – or lack thereof. Google says sales would have been up around $72bn if not for currency swings (55% of sales are from outside the US), and scrutiny from five separate continents means Google is taking smaller cuts from app sales – all of that adds up to an analyst forecast for 14% revenue growth in the FY.
See all reported financials
BP Miller / Unsplash
May 122022

Google gives us new gear

Lots of new gadgets are coming to Google, including its eagerly-anticipated Pixel Watch.

  • The Pixel Watch will drop in the fall as a “premium product”. It will be compatible only with Android devices, but will be able to function away from its host smartphone. Google plans to run it on the company’s Wear operating system alongside Fitbit’s health tracking software (it acquired the company in 2019).
  • Google will also be releasing the new Pixel 7 smartphone, also set to launch in the fall. Apart from these two big launches, Google announced new Pixel Buds Pro earbuds, as well as a planned 2023 return to making tablets. Watch out Apple, Google wants your iPad and watch sales.
  • The new gizmos and gadgets will help Google’s hardware push. While it still generates most of its revenue from advertising, Google generated over $8bn in hardware and app sales in Q1 of 2022 – a markup from $6.6bn from the same quarter in 2021. Better late than never, we guess.

Say hello to Google Pixel Watch, the first watch made inside and out by Google. Built on Wear OS, it features the best of Google, plus Fitbit health and fitness experiences — all on your wrist. Coming this fall

Apr 272022

Alphabet earnings go down the (You)Tube

Is YouTube canceled? Tech behemoth Alphabet gets dragged down into the dumps by declining ad revenue on its fave video platform.

  • Shares sank nearly 10% in extended trading on Tuesday after hitting a near nine-month low in day trading. It came after the company’s Q1 missed on both ends, reporting EPS of $24.62 on revenues of $68.01bn – that represents 23% growth YoY, a slowdown from 34% in the same period last year.
  • What went wrong? In a nutshell, YouTube. Ad revenue on the platform came in at $6.87bn, showing growth of 14% but still lower than the $7.51bn expected. CEO Sundar Pichai says it’s not their fault though – apparently YT’s 2bn users still spent time on there, but the war in Ukraine meant the larger European region has decreased their ad spend.
  • And apparently the tough times aren’t over. Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said this quarter will be even more challenging bc of foreign exchange headwinds and its shutdown of operations in Russia. It can’t have inspired big tech investors, who already sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq plummeting to 2022 lows on Tuesday in anticipation of this week's earnings.
See all reported financials
Javier Miranda / Unsplash
Apr 142022

Google’s going green

Big tech seems to finally be recognizing how massive its environmental footprint is, and is starting to ramp up its eco-friendliness.

  • Google’s global data centers use double the electricity of San Francisco a year, which let’s be honest is kinda nuts, and that number is only going up as the world switches to the digital side of life. But, the brand has a plan.
  • Its global data centers will use 100% carbon-free energy by 2030, a goal that CEO Sundar Pichai has said stresses him out but is “humanity’s next moonshot”. Google has claimed to be completely carbon-neutral since 2007, but it’s ready to up its game to use 100% clean energy.
  • Alphabet’s baby isn’t the only tech firm making changes. Online payments firm Stripe has teamed up with Alphabet, Meta, and several other tech firms, to commit nearly $1bn to turbocharge the carbon-capture market – which basically means capturing carbon emissions and storing them underground so they don't enter the atmosphere.
dan carlson / Unsplash
Mar 312022

Alphabet’s robotaxi dreams become Waymo realistic

San Fran is becoming the home of the robotaxi revolution thanks to Waymo’s (Google’s self drive unit) latest milestone, while Pres Biden pumps funds into the EV sphere.

🔍 Key points:

  • Waymo’s completely self-driving taxis are ready to hit the roads of San Francisco without any safety drivers, after years of development and testing.
  • The company is one of many trying to build and deploy a commercial autonomous driving service, like Argo AI and Cruise. One company not near the finish line is Tesla, despite Elon Musk claiming he’d have over a million robotaxis on the road by 2020.
  • EVs in general are about to get a Biden boost. The president plans to invoke Cold War-era powers to encourage domestic production of materials needed for EVs (which are in low supply atm) as a way to reduce dependence on international energy supplies.
Mar 232022

Google’s Sandbox AQ finds its own playground

Google parent company Alphabet is waving goodbye to its quantum computing baby as the brand goes to play in the big kids’ playground.

🔍 Key points:

  • Alphabet has spun off software start-up Sandbox AQ into an independent company after letting it quietly grow since 2016, skimming under the radar because it operates outside of Alphabet’s popular “moonshot” division.
  • It’s turned into a brand that boasts a number of high profile clients and big developments in the quantum technology and AI spaces, already getting over nine-figures in funding from big investors like the CEOs of both Google and Salesforce.
  • Apparently, there’s crazy demand for quantum tech rn because it has the potential to be faster than a supercomputer. Research firm Gartner estimates that by next year 20% of global companies will budget for quantum-computing projects, up from under 1% in 2018. Other big tech companies like Microsoft are also investing in the industry.
Duangphorn Wiriya / Unsplash
Mar 092022

Google gets Mandiant defense robot

Google defies the cries of regulators to boost its cyber defenses and keep hackers at bay.

🔍 Key points:

  • Google has spent $5.4bn on buying cybersecurity company Mandiant, marking parent company Alphabet’s second biggest acquisition ever. Mandiant used to be under the FireEye umbrella, which was the brand credited with helping uncover the SolarWinds attack last year.
  • The internet search giant is trying to keep up with the scale of rivals like Microsoft Azure (which was also in talks to buy Mandiant) and Amazon Web Services, according to its CFO. As instances of cyberattacks on cloud platforms and government services escalate, Google is also trying to go the extra mile to keep customers safe.
  • Mandiant, for one, was thrilled with the purchase and soared 16% on the news; Google investors still seemed pleased but were less emphatic about it, sending the stock up 4% before closing up 0.57% to snap a five-day losing streak. Now let’s see how hard line antitrust regulators will be with the news…
Markus Spiske / Unsplash
Feb 172022

Google takes a bite out of Apple’s book

Google announces tracking changes that are similar to Apple’s in an effort to make Androids more private.

Key points:
  • Google plans to introduce new privacy restrictions on its Android devices that will put an end to tracking across apps on the phones, giving developers two years to adapt before enforcing the new rules – which Apple didn't.
  • Part of the motivation is to get ahead of regulatory issues that have been plaguing big tech as lawmakers get increasingly concerned about consumers' personal data and how it’s used.
  • Apple’s privacy changes have made a massive dent in targeted advertising, as is clear from this earnings season, as social platforms posted significant drops in advertising revenue – Meta (FB) alone said it would lose $10bn this year from the changes, so with Androids switching over too, big tech is going to have to make some big adjustments.
Denny Müller / Unsplash
Feb 022022

Double dollar bills

Alphabet is the one to beat after kicking off this week’s big tech earnings by nearly doubling its profit.

  • Prices bounded up 8% in morning trading on Wednesday to surpass $3,000 after easily beating on both ends with EPS of $30.69 on revenues that were up 32% to $75.33bn, proving once again that it can withstand regulatory and economic pressures.
  • Annual revenue nearly doubled to top $200bn for the first time, largely on the back of its advertising strength – ad revenue was up 33% to $61.24bn, with core search revenue stealing the show.
  • It announced a 20-for-1 stock split as it tries to make its shares more available to the masses – it’s only the second stock split it’s had since going public in 2004, and follows in the footsteps of other tech giants who took similar steps in the pandemic.
See all reported financials
Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash
Jan 312022

Waymo wants its windows tinted

Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, is fighting to keep its data private in case the increasingly hot competition steals its tactics.

  • Waymo filed a lawsuit against the DMV to try and keep details of its recent self-driving accidents out of the public eye – its 24 incidents make up most of the autonomous driving crashes in California last year.
  • It says its safety protocols are a trade secret, arguing that competitors like GM (GM) or Ford (F) could steal its tech and give Waymo a disadvantage in an increasingly competitive market.
  • Only a few completely autonomous services are approved atm, so how this plays out could hint at the regulatory mood for others that want to follow suit.
Jan 212022

Google climbs aboard the crypto train

Google finally joins the social media giants of the world with its first public blockchain project.

  • Google is creating a dedicated blockchain team under a newly appointed exec to spearhead its move into crypto and its underlying technology.
  • It’s Google’s first major public crypto project – up until now it’s only really offered cloud services to blockchain-related companies and let its payments unit dabble behind the scenes.
  • It’s about time it joined the cool kids. Other social media platforms like Twitter (TWTR) and Meta (FB) have devoted massive resources to getting their platforms ahead of the Web3 game.
Illustration by TradingView
Jan 052022

A Siemple security acquisition

Google is protecting its Cloud customers from the growing threat of cyber attacks with its latest purchase.

  • It’s spending around $500m on Israeli cybersecurity firm Siemplify, marking the tech giant's first international cybersecurity purchase.
  • It’ll be integrated into Google Cloud’s Chronicle operation, which was created specifically to help Cloud customers spot and combat cyber attacks.
  • It’s all part of its pledge to President Biden to spend $10bn on cyber strength in the next five years as cybersecurity threats get worse (Colonial Pipeline, we’re looking at you).
Illustration by TradingView
Dec 302021

Waymo wades into Robotaxis

The robotaxi race is heating up, and Alphabet’s Waymo refuses to eat dust.

  • Waymo is partnering with Volvo owner Geely (0175) to bring a fleet of all-electric, self-driving robotaxis to the U.S.
  • Its robotaxi service has had huge success so far in Phoenix and San Francisco, where it runs the country’s first and only driverless taxi service, which boasts a packed waiting list.
  • It left out the fact that Geely is a China-based company at a time when U.S. policymakers are coming down hard on U.S. investments in Chinese companies.