Friday, August 19, 2005

Spending Google's (pi - 3) million shares

Google plans to raise about $4 billion by selling some shares -- 14,159,265 to be exact -- the figure is the first eight digits that follow the decimal in the value of pi – the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter.

I can’t help but be amused by Google’s proud nerdiness which has certainly helped it recruit a phenomenally talented work force. Although Google’s too clever by half attitude towards Wall Street certainly cost it proceeds in last year’s Dutch auction style IPO, its ability to blow through earnings targets each quarter has contributed to the tripling in its stock price since then.

Google has realized that it can now capture some of the proceeds that it left on the table when its shares were initially sold at $80 a share last year.

And here’s an idea for how to spend some of that money: link property valuation statistics with
Google Earth.

If you have not experienced Google Earth, I suggest downloading the free version and taking it for a test drive. Starting with a three-dimensional image of the earth, it zooms in to as close as a few hundred feet from any address on earth. Using satellite images of varying quality, it flies you around the globe where you can see images such as the swimming pools and tennis courts of seaside Southhampton, NY estates.

Google could build a cash gusher by linking Google Earth to property valuation statistics. It could produce color coded maps of regions and neighborhoods whose colors vary with market value. If you clicked on a particular property, it would show the current value of the property as well as a graph of its value, for the last 10 years. If you were looking to purchase a property, you could view it from different angles, tour the neighborhood, and figure out how a property’s price compared to others in the neighborhood. If you were looking to sell one, you could use the same information to help set a selling price.

Revenue would come from advertising and fees from realtors, mortgage companies and sellers of home-related products and services whose sites linked to it. No doubt this idea would not spend all Google’s proceeds, but it could provide Google with a good return on its (pi - 3) million shares.


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