Shares in Google top $600 for the first time

Shares in Google have pushed through the $600 mark for the first time, in advance of the search giant's third-quarter results later this month.

The price of a single share in Google, which is now valued at an estimated $187bn (£91.9bn), burst through the $600 mark yesterday to $610.26 for a short period, before closing at $609.92 at the end of trading to mark a 2.6% gain in one day.

Meanwhile, analysts at Bear Stearns are now speculating that Google's share price could reach $625 by the end of the year, and move closer to $700 at the end of 2008.

Google's stock price has risen by 403% in the past year, putting its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the top 10 of US billionaires, with a net worth of around $18.5bn (£9.2bn) each.

The search giant, which reports its third-quarter results on October 18, has increased its share price six-fold since going public at $85 a share in August 2004, and is now valued more highly than some of the world's most recognised brands, including Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard and Wal-Mart.

Google, which has just announced plans to expand its AdSense programme to include targeted embedded video clips on YouTube, recently pledged to expand its European workforce by a third, to match the size of its US arm, by creating a research and development division.

The expansion of AdSense will allow web publishers using its ad network to distribute embedded content from YouTube content creators, enabling advertisers to host video content relevant to their target audience.

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