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Google, a joint venture between Larry Page and Sergey Brin, began as an effort to organize and rank information across the world wide web.
Today, Google is known for more than just revolutionizing the search engine. Under its holding company, Alphabet Inc., Google's commercial projects also now include software, cloud computing tools and even cell phones and artificial intelligence home devices.
As the tech giant has grown in influence, so has its stock value. When the company issued its initial public offering in 2004, it was valued at $23 billion. In 2022, its market cap has grown to $1.5 trillion, making it one of the most highly valued tech companies, alongside Apple and Microsoft.
All of this makes investing in Google sound like a no-brainer. But when it comes to purchasing stock, some special considerations still remain — regardless of how big or small a company is.
Here's what to consider and how to buy Google stock
1. Look at the fundamentals of Google stock
Some folks may be surprised to find that Google trades under two ticker symbols: GOOGL and GOOG. This division happened as part of a stock split in 2014.
Deciding which one to invest in begins with understanding what separates one stock from the other. Thankfully, it's relatively simple.
GOOGL is what's commonly referred to as a Class A stock. One share of this stock gives shareholders one vote on company matters, such as electing board members.
GOOG is a Class C stock. It comes without voting rights.
The company also has another class of stock that is not publicly traded. These Class B shares have magnified voting power (10 votes per share) and are held mainly by former and current company executives.
Both GOOGL and GOOG routinely trade around the same price. When deciding between the two, weigh the importance of having a say as a shareholder.
Aside from deciding if voting rights are essential to you, investing in Google also means doing your research to make sure you understand the risks — from competing technologies, programming, and more — so you can prepare yourself for potential bumps in the road.
To get started, you can read about both GOOGL and GOOG's recent earnings reports and find out what analysts have to say about the company and the industry. For more tips, see our guide on how to research stocks.
Researching a company can help you see the risks — and it can highlight the potential rewards. So after doing your research, if you decide Google is a stock you want to buy, read on.
2. Consider Google in the context of your investment plan
Even if a company's financials are stellar and its share price has nowhere to go, but up, that doesn't necessarily mean the stock is a good fit for you.
For example, you may already have a big chunk of your investment money in high-growth (and potentially high-risk) technology stocks. As a result, you might not want to add more money to this aspect of your portfolio.
Or, maybe the money you can afford to lose is already tied up elsewhere. You don't want to put your child's college fund into one technology stock.
Another consideration is your time frame. Are you going to need this money in five years or less? If so, it probably shouldn't go into the stock market because you don't have enough time to sit out a market crash.
The best way to make a smart investment decision is to have a clear sense of your financial goals for this money and how diversified (or not) your overall investments are.
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3. Open a brokerage account
If you have a brokerage account, then skip ahead to No. 4. If you don't have an account, it's easy to open one. You want to find a low-cost broker that offers the types of investments you're interested in. Here's our guide to opening a brokerage account — the process takes about 15 minutes, and you'll be ready to buy once your account is open and funded.
4. Decide how much to invest in Google
You're almost done! The final two questions: How many shares do you want to buy? What type of order do you want to use?
How many shares
You can buy individual shares of Google at any online broker. However, keep in mind that how much to invest should be based on various factors. If you don't already have a diversified portfolio and a solid emergency fund, for example, you may want to limit your investment in an individual stock like Google for now.
If either of Google's sticker prices is too high for you, keep in mind that some brokers will let you dip your toes by buying fractional shares, which is a portion of the stock rather than the whole thing. You may also consider Google's upcoming 20-to-1 stock split, scheduled for July 15, 2022. The split, the first in over eight years, is poised to bring the price of individual shares of GOOG and GOOGL down considerably. However, if you decide to invest before the split, you're not losing out. The value of your total investment in Google will remain the same; you'll simply own more shares.
What type of order
Two of the most common types are "market" orders and "limit" orders. With a market order, you're telling the brokerage to buy the stock as soon as possible. As a result, the final price might be slightly higher or lower than the price you see when you place the order. A limit order tells your broker that you only want to buy the stock at a specific price, with the caveat that if the stock isn't available at that price, your order won't go through.
Got more questions? Check out our guide on how to buy stocks.