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It's deja vu all over again?
February 3, 2006 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Is Google the new Netscape? With GOOG having taken a tumble Wednesday and falling more than $12 so far today, it's not unreasonable to ask... also why is Gmail still in beta when I've been using it for over a year now?
posted by clevershark (53 comments total)

 
It's "déjà vu", or "all over again" -- not both, please.

Thanks.

posted by pmbuko at 12:01 PM on February 3, 2006


No.

They are not the new Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay or Apple either.

Google is Something New.
posted by empath at 12:01 PM on February 3, 2006


I'm dying to buy Google stock, I should have bought it on the IPO, but I didn't have any spare cash at the time. I think Google is a wonderful company and has a brilliant future ahead of it, but I also think it's a little overpriced right now.

Another bad day like today and I'll be picking up a bunch of shares, though.
posted by empath at 12:04 PM on February 3, 2006


I think they need to start failing a bit. I mean PageRank was a nice idea, but do Brin and Page really deserve to rule the world for this "insight"?
posted by snoktruix at 12:06 PM on February 3, 2006


It's "déjà vu", or "all over again" -- not both, please.

You might want to look up "yogi berra quotes", perhaps on Google even :-)

Granted the stock did start the week at around $440, but it's equally true that it has lost almost $60 per share so far. It's an interesting story and there *are* parallels, I think.
posted by clevershark at 12:06 PM on February 3, 2006


Google is a good company. But it will face significant difficulties diversifying its revenue base and expanding internationally. Were it not such an overhyped stock, that would not be a problem. But too many carpetbaggers have jumped on to the company's stock and in their greedy little hearts demand ponzi-like returns.

Netscape never managed to get a stable revenue base like Google's. The comparison is not valid.
posted by meehawl at 12:12 PM on February 3, 2006


*shorts GOOG*
posted by driveler at 12:14 PM on February 3, 2006


pmbuko writes "It's 'déjà vu', or 'all over again' -- not both, please."

The Economist named Yogi Berra the wisest fool of the past 50 years. pmbuko seems to doubt his wisdom....

The stock was overpriced to start with. This is an inevitable correction.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:14 PM on February 3, 2006


why is Gmail still in beta when I've been using it for over a year now?

I have been wondering this too. I went to sign up my kid for his first email account the other day, and realized I would have to open a Hotmail account and send him a Gmail invitation first...
posted by LarryC at 12:20 PM on February 3, 2006


Well the spam-filtering (at least on my account) is pathetic. Maybe they're still working on that. Please-and-thank-you.
posted by cairnish at 12:23 PM on February 3, 2006


I've been having lots of problems with my Gmail account lately (The message is usually something like, "Service currently unavailable, please try back again.") How many billions of dollars do you need to keep the servers up?
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 12:25 PM on February 3, 2006


man, i'm glad i handle my own email. i can do it better than google can, apparently.
posted by wakko at 12:28 PM on February 3, 2006


2-year chart tells a different story. Sell high. Buy low.
posted by stbalbach at 12:29 PM on February 3, 2006


LarryC writes "I have been wondering this too. I went to sign up my kid for his first email account the other day, and realized I would have to open a Hotmail account and send him a Gmail invitation first..."

I've had to do that a few times. I think that's where Hotmail gets most of its business.
posted by brundlefly at 12:37 PM on February 3, 2006


My personal feeling is that Google stock today is what many of the technology companies were 6 years ago: overvalued. While I agree that Google definitely is something entirely different from traditional technology companies and it is hard to compare it as such, much of the valuation in Google is targeted at the future and "what might be" someday.

There was a great read over at Money/CNN the other day about the "future Google possibilities" that was an interesting read:

My point in conversation about that article is that all of the scenarios are completely plausible. There are simply too many what-ifs and variables to know what might become of Google in a few years. But, with that in mind, let's not count the big traditionals such as Microsoft out of the game just yet. One of the things about that company is that they're always freaking scared of losing which tends to keep them on their toes.

Google so far has manageed to turn some great profits primarily based on advertising revenue and search engine growth. Their ability to move profitably into other markets is as of yet, untested. For the cowboys the Google stock is a great ride, but I'll stick to my comfortable returns on companies with solid revenue/profit histories, thank you.
posted by tgrundke at 12:43 PM on February 3, 2006


Brundlefly:
Er, assuming that you have a Gmail a/c and another a/c, don't you just use the other a/c to email your own Gmail, which will then offer an invite to yorself? Then, you just fill in your son's details, bypassing Hotmail altogether.

Or am I missing something?
posted by dash_slot- at 12:44 PM on February 3, 2006


why is Gmail still in beta when I've been using it for over a year now?

google news was in beta for years. it just "came out" of beta with no apparent changes, ever.
posted by quonsar at 12:47 PM on February 3, 2006


Google: It's different this time.
posted by Mutant at 12:50 PM on February 3, 2006


I have been wondering this too. I went to sign up my kid for his first email account the other day, and realized I would have to open a Hotmail account and send him a Gmail invitation first...

My little sister signed up using my mother's mobile without having any previous E-mail address. That seems like a neat idea.
posted by vkxmai at 12:52 PM on February 3, 2006


why is Gmail still in beta when I've been using it for over a year now?

It's been asked so much it's a little bit of a joke now.

I have been wondering this too. I went to sign up my kid for his first email account the other day, and realized I would have to open a Hotmail account and send him a Gmail invitation first...

Just send the gmail invite to yourself. Don't bother with hotmail or cell phones or whatever.
posted by justgary at 12:59 PM on February 3, 2006


Mutant, thnx for that link.

On GOOG:

They have revenue. It is different from Netscape.
posted by Clementines4ever at 1:06 PM on February 3, 2006


No.

They are not the new Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay or Apple either.

Google is Something New.


Nobody ever says "are they the new Wang?"

I wish they would.

man, i'm glad i handle my own email. i can do it better than google can, apparently.

Same here. Nothing like rolling your own, esp. when you only have to support a handful of accounts.
posted by davejay at 1:08 PM on February 3, 2006


Well, the stock is overvalued, and though they had record profits, increasing by like 80%, the stock still went down. You can sell now if you want, it's just seeking a realistic level.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:09 PM on February 3, 2006


I have been wondering this too. I went to sign up my kid for his first email account the other day, and realized I would have to open a Hotmail account and send him a Gmail invitation first...

I think you'll find that the

http://www.sneakemail.com

service is invaluable for this kind of stuff.
posted by de void at 1:13 PM on February 3, 2006


The current P/E ratio is 84. Just think - it would take 84 years of earnings at the current rate to pay for one share. Google is a cool company but way overvalued.

Still I wish I'd bought it at the IPO and would rather own it than Netscape.
posted by laukf at 1:13 PM on February 3, 2006


"They have revenue. It is different from Netscape."

Netscape reports record revenue in 1998.

Google reports record revenue in 2005.

Deja wha?
posted by Mutant at 1:23 PM on February 3, 2006


Netscape's revenue in 1998: $162 million

Google's revenue in 2005: $1.256 billion
posted by JekPorkins at 1:31 PM on February 3, 2006


Time To Sell Google.

"[Google] is a perfect Pied Piper story. Investors are piling on the bandwagon without a second thought. Therein lies the fatal attraction. A good story lies at the heart of every investment misadventure. The antidote is a solid dose of boring math."
posted by storybored at 1:40 PM on February 3, 2006


Google will be fine so long as they don't sell out to some insular ISP that does not understand the value of abstracting out a runtime engine + API when it come to writing cross-platform applications—leading to pulled resources. They'd also be wise to vigorously defend the little toehold they have on the vast real estate of a Windows desktop through whatever means necessary.

All of that to say, the stock is horribly overpriced if you're thinking of getting in now.
posted by Fezboy! at 1:44 PM on February 3, 2006


dash_slot- writes "Er, assuming that you have a Gmail a/c and another a/c, don't you just use the other a/c to email your own Gmail, which will then offer an invite to yorself? Then, you just fill in your son's details, bypassing Hotmail altogether."

I only had one account at the time.

justgary writes "Just send the gmail invite to yourself. Don't bother with hotmail or cell phones or whatever."

Does that work now? I seem to recall trying that early on and getting an error.
posted by brundlefly at 1:52 PM on February 3, 2006


Netscape's P/E in 1997: 89.6 (couldn't find 1998).

As laukf previously mentioned, Google's P/E is currently in the 80's. It doesn't matter if the units for the earnings are Billions or Millions, just look at the ratios.

I wouldn't go near Google with my own money or especially with client money. It might (big might) be different this time, but probably isn't.

Yahoo!, probably a close peer to Google industrywise (although Yahoo! is far more diversified revenue-wise), has a P/E of only 26. No, I don't think it's different this time.

On preview: to followup storybored's point - the retail crowd is piling in now. I had a Black Cab Driver ask me about Google last week when he heard I worked in banking. Wanted to know if he should put his pension into it.
posted by Mutant at 1:54 PM on February 3, 2006


Does that work now? I seem to recall trying that early on and getting an error.

Yep. I just got it to work with one of my 1,993 invites.
posted by justgary at 2:03 PM on February 3, 2006


my hunch is that google doesn't take gmail out of beta because they might be keeping track of who sends invites to whom and they are mining that data.

That's just a guess though. Take it for what it's worth.
posted by absquatulate at 2:18 PM on February 3, 2006


....Wanted to know if he should put his pension into it.

Warning! Danger! Danger! :-)
posted by storybored at 2:18 PM on February 3, 2006


Well, when things are in 'beta' there's often a buzz surrounding them. Like the "Silicon Valley stealth mode" buzz.

I find gmail to be vastly overrated. Its buzz was created by geeks that felt they were 'l33t because they scored 'teh gmail invites!!' You needed to score invites in order to get a gmail.com email address. So, you were in the geek circle, one to be envied.

Now? Gah. Who cares. I don't know anybody that *doesn't* have a gmail account, but I know a few people that have become frustrated with the service. It's not special anymore.
And above all, it's just another internet company.
posted by drstein at 2:22 PM on February 3, 2006


Washington's hypocrisy over Google
posted by Kwantsar at 2:37 PM on February 3, 2006


With regards to google invites:

If you have one gmail account, you can invite yourself an infinite (well, 40) number of times, and then give the code to whoever you feel like. Just send an gmail invite to your gmail account. Worked for me.
posted by JZig at 2:42 PM on February 3, 2006


Isn't Vista/Explorer 7 basically going to make Google irrelevant? Sure, there'll be the usual "I hate Microsoft" crowd who'll refuse to use it on principle, but for the majority of users, will Google still be necessary?
posted by slatternus at 2:42 PM on February 3, 2006


Mutant wrote: "[...] Wanted to know if he should put his pension into it."

Ummm, and you thought about this??

As for GOOG, it is different because the bubble has already burst... that was five years ago.
posted by Clementines4ever at 3:30 PM on February 3, 2006


In case I wasn't clear... never put your pension into a technology company... at least not all of it or any meaningful percentage.
posted by Clementines4ever at 3:35 PM on February 3, 2006


If I owned the stock, I would care a lot more about their stock price.

As it is, I just want them to figure out how to filter out stock spam. IME, they catch the viagra and the porn spam. What's so hard about filtering out "small cap"?
posted by smackfu at 3:54 PM on February 3, 2006


Isn't Vista/Explorer 7 basically going to make Google irrelevant?

Ha. Wait 'til the Google OS comes out. They've already got enough apps for it to compete with Office. They bundle with FireFox. Using a journaled file system would let them leverage their search technology (like their Google Desktop does already).

Not to mention the shitloads of data they're sitting on and gathering every moment. Make no mistake: SHITLOADS of data. That's gotta be worth something to somebody. :)

A friend of mine is a manager at Google. I can tell you they all anticipated this stock correction. It's not a big deal. Their operating costs are negligable; most of their cash is spent on hardware and talent.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:20 PM on February 3, 2006


Deja wha?

Stable revenue. MS killed NS by giving away IIS (and a free Apache didn't help either). MS/Yahoo/eBay/Amazon can't give away PPC and undermine Google as easily.
posted by meehawl at 6:03 PM on February 3, 2006


Isn't Vista/Explorer 7 basically going to make Google irrelevant?

In what possible way could that be even remotely true?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:36 PM on February 3, 2006


Netscape reports record revenue in 1998.
Google reports record revenue in 2005.
Deja wha?


did you read the links you posted? netscape's quarterly revenue in 1998 was $162 million. google's quarterly revenue in 2005 was $1.265 billion. you think a factor of 10 is nothing to shake a stick at?

furthermore, netscape's profit in that period was all of $2 million, whereas google's profit for the same period was $370 million. that's a 1.2% profit margin compared to a 29.2% margin. hardly the same thing, don't you think?
posted by sergeant sandwich at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2006


I roll my own mail, but I do enjoy my GMail account. Every time I purchase from eBay or register a piece of software, I use my GMail account as an offline store for irreplaceable (or PITA to replace) mail. Other than that, I pretty much run it using SMTP/POP with Thunderbird.
posted by Samizdata at 7:57 PM on February 3, 2006


A friend of mine is a manager at Google. I can tell you they all anticipated this stock correction.

And that's why there are laws against illegal insider training.
posted by smackfu at 8:00 PM on February 3, 2006


smackfu, you don't have to be a Google-insider shifting reconstructed shredded documents in dark parking garages in the middle of the night to know that their stock was overvalued and there was going to be a market correction. Most of the people working at Google are smart enough (or have long enough memories) to know that stocks and stock options, while nice, are no substitute for a good salary, and Google is smart enough to accomodate them in that respect.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:34 PM on February 3, 2006


"did you read the links you posted? netscape's quarterly revenue in 1998 was $162 million. google's quarterly revenue in 2005 was $1.265 billion. you think a factor of 10 is nothing to shake a stick at?"

Uhmm, that's why we look at Price to Earnings ratios; they allow us to make direct comparisions, and on a meaningful basis. You can't compare earnings directly as you've done; and draw valid conclusions.

No, a factor of 10 is nothing to shake a stick at here; the stock is overvalued.

Google's P/E is higher than all but one of it's peers. It has a market cap TWICE that of it's closest peer, and Price to Sales is twice that of it's closest competitor, it's profit margins are actually two thirds that of Yahoo!, and in fact, on the basis of almost all of the traditional valuation ratios we look at when analyzing securities, it's overvalued.

Yes, I did read the links and I've read a great deal more on Google and the industry in general. I'm always looking for a place to dump cash and make money.

I've been watching the stock's movement in the market for a while. Almost every time a stock is going up up up and it's the talk of the town, it's another bubble.

As I said before, I wouldn't even put my own money in Google let alone client money.

It's not different this time I'm afraid. I'm not saying Google is going out of business like Netscape, but that share price will revert to industry means sooner rather than later.
posted by Mutant at 10:39 PM on February 3, 2006


Google is our future. I feel a sense of security in that knowledge.
posted by codeofconduct at 10:44 PM on February 3, 2006


pmbuko writes "It's 'déjà vu', or 'all over again' -- not both, please."

You mean you never had déjà vu about having déjà vu?

LarryC writes "I have been wondering this too. I went to sign up my kid for his first email account the other day, and realized I would have to open a Hotmail account and send him a Gmail invitation first..."

You can send an invite to any email address, made up or real, and then follow the signup link from the invite in your sent items. I like to send my first time emailers invites to billg@microsoft.com.
posted by Mitheral at 8:20 AM on February 4, 2006


So how does this selling-short business work? Anyone know a broker who gives credit?
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:39 PM on February 4, 2006


How to sell short.

Even though I believe the stock's going to be much much lower two years from now, it's still risky to short unless you have well-defined exit points.

Other strategies:

*buy long-term out-of-the-money put options. Also not a lot of money-making potential because those puts are currently kinda expensive.

*try to profit from the spread of Google's price with its competitors...have to think about how to do that exactly with say, options.
posted by storybored at 2:03 PM on February 5, 2006


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