Google is richest media empire on Earth

Internet search phenomenon Google has toppled a string of rivals to become the world's most valuable media company.

It marks a meteoric rise to global domination for the firm after just 10 months of trading as a public company.

Google is now worth more than £44billion after its shares reached an all-time high on the New York stock exchange this week.

The performance puts it narrowly ahead of media giant Time Warner, worth £42billion. Google also dwarfs rivals such as Viacom and Walt Disney, each of which are worth £30billion.

Even Yahoo! Inc, the other big Internet search provider, has a market value about £14billion less than that of Google.

However, Google trials behind its rivals in the earning stakes. It's sales last year totalled just £1.7billion, compared to Time Warner's £23billion. Google makes most of its money from the sales advertising 'pop-ups' and banners on its Web pages.

The company was founded in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who met while studying computer science at Stanford University in California. They launched their operation from a friend's garage after raising $1million (£547,000) from family, friends and investors. Initially, Google fielded 10,000 search queries a day but now receives 200million daily 'hits.

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