July 24, 2006 4:00 AM PDT
Google makes nice with Wall Street
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The company held a midquarter conference call in May, which analysts said was a first. "That was a step in the right direction," said Rohan. "The company was somewhat candid with its product development initiative, including refuting the thesis that they were developing a browser, and talking about Google Base."
"When a company first goes public, it kind of stumbles a few times before getting it right," Rohan said. "By the time it's a $120 billion (market cap) company, it has a responsibility to investors to become more transparent, and Google is responding to that."
Google isn't limiting its chattiness to the money folks. It's also behaving differently when it comes to product releases, analysts said. For example, when it unveiled the Google Checkout online payment processing system last month, executives explained why they think the product is significant to their business. That may not sound like a big deal, but "it was a point of discussion that I think may not have taken place two years ago," said Brown.
Google also is issuing news releases to announce new products, instead of revealing the news in its official blogs, "which is cute, but not standard," said Rohan.
And Google is being more open with Web site owners who rely on good rankings in the Google index to get traffic and revenue, said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch.
"They have done a lot in terms of trying to give Web site owners direct feedback," he said. They are disclosing top search terms, error messages when Google's spider fails to gather data and other statistics, as well as alerting sites when they have been banned, he said. "That is unprecedented," he added.
Granted, the bar for improvement was low for Google and it could still do better, Brown said. Yahoo, for example, releases 20 to 30 pages of details with its financial results, according to Safa Rashtchy of Piper Jaffray and other analysts. "Yahoo is probably one of the most transparent companies in the Internet universe," he said.
"They (Google) were and are extremely tight-lipped about everything going on in their business," Brown said. "For a company as large and dynamic and important to the entire Internet economy, there is so little known about them, it's amazing."
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