When we hear the word Google we might think of a search query.

Such is the power of the brand that its very name has become synonymous with its best-known product, and Google is now one of the biggest companies in the world.

But what about the business behind the search engine?

If you’re considering making an investment in any company, you may want to understand more about the business size, structure and related activities. These can all have a bearing on the strength of your investment.

Here’s the lowdown on Google…

What is Google?

Google Inc. (the search engine) was founded in the US back in 1998. It was created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two graduate students who built the project in their Stanford University dorms!

More broadly, Google LLC is described as an American multinational technology company, focusing on online advertising, search engine technology, cloud computing, computer software, quantum computing, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Google can be considered one of the most powerful companies in existence due to its market dominance, and significant competitive advantages in the fields of data collection and artificial intelligence.

Who owns Google?

Google first floated shares via their Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2004.

This allowed them to become publicly listed on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) stock exchange, and for institutional and retail investors to trade and hold Google shares.

In 2015, the company was reorganised as a wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (the same company that owns Waze, YouTube, and FitBit). Google is Alphabet's largest subsidiary and is a holding company for Alphabet's Internet properties and interests.

Recent figures suggest that Google is currently owned by 63.2% institutional shareholders, 3.4% Google insiders and 33.4% retail investors. Co-founder, Sergey Brin is the largest single shareholder, owning 2.9% of the company’s shares, with a current market value of around $35.6 billion.

Parent company, Alphabet Inc., is considered one of the big 5 American IT companies, alongside Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft. In recent years, it has grown to offer many products and services, aside from Google Search.

What other brands does Alphabet Inc. own?

Alphabet Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate holding company headquartered in Mountain View, California.

The company’s products span email (Gmail), navigation (Waze & Maps), cloud computing (Cloud), web browsing (Chrome), video sharing (YouTube), productivity (Workspace), operating systems (Android), cloud storage (Drive), language translation (Translate), photo storage (Photos), video calling (Meet), smart home (Nest), smartphones (Pixel), wearable technology (Pixel Watch & Fitbit), music streaming (YouTube Music), video on demand (YouTube TV), artificial intelligence (Google Assistant), machine learning APIs (TensorFlow), AI chips (TPU), and more.

Google and YouTube are the two most visited websites worldwide followed by Facebook and Twitter. Google is also the largest search engine, mapping and navigation application, email provider, office suite, video sharing platform, photo and cloud storage provider, mobile operating system, web browser, ML framework, and AI virtual assistant provider in the world (as measured by market share).

Google's other ventures outside of Internet services and consumer electronics include quantum computing (Sycamore), self-driving cars (Waymo, formerly the Google Self-Driving Car Project), smart cities (Sidewalk Labs), and transformer models (Google Brain).

Does Google pay dividends to shareholders?

Dividends are cash payments made by a business to the investors who bought and hold shares in the company. Along with voting rights, this is a potential benefit of investing in a specific company’s stock.

Unfortunately, Google (Alphabet Inc.) doesn’t currently pay dividends.

Alphabet hasn't paid any dividends since going public, instead preferring to use the capital to invest in the long-term growth of the business.

How can I buy Google shares?

There are numerous investing apps and trading platforms available in the UK, but we like to think that Plum offers something unique.

You can use the Plum app to manage all your savings and investments (including your retirement pot) and use the power of automation* to help execute the financial strategy that you set. Here’s how it works.

1. Download the Plum app

It’s free to start using the Basic version of our app for iOS or Android. You can invest in stocks from over 1,200 different companies, with up to 3,000 available for Premium subscribers (plus tools for automating* your strategy).

2. Select your stock

Search for your chosen company or use our Discover feature if you need a little inspiration. Once you’ve picked your stock you can start investing with just £1 and place unlimited commission-free trades (other fees apply).

3. Decide how to invest

You can deposit manually, or use our Rules to automatically* arrange deposits. It’s a great way to regularly contribute affordable amounts, and you can even divide your deposits between different investments you’ve chosen.

The opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes only and should be used at your own risk. It’s your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, timeliness and completeness of any information provided.

Plum does not provide investment or other advice and individual investors should make their own decisions or seek independent advice. If you invest, please remember that your capital is at risk and you could lose money. The value of your investments can go down as well as up.

*You should not invest in, or deal in any financial product unless you understand its nature and the extent of your exposure to risk. When you automate and invest you should be satisfied that it suits you in light of your circumstances and financial position.

To learn more about Plum you can check out our website.

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