Google has expanded far beyond its original claim to fame as a search engine. Through its holding company Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), Google owns multiple companies. The reach of this technology giant is so vast it is hard to imagine an area of modern life it hasn’t touched.
Google owns more than 200 companies, including those involved in robotics, mapping, video broadcasting, telecommunications, scholarship and smoke alarms. Google is growing through acquisitions, but it is also increasing revenues in each of the companies it owns. In cases where an acquisition cannot grow revenues, Google tends to sell that company.
We have selected four companies to highlight based on their ability to produce consistent revenues. Each of these companies has a history of attracting customers and monetizing their services. All figures are current as of March 19, 2017.
1. Google Maps
You can look up any location in the world using Google Maps. The views are aerial for the most part, but Google also provides street-level views of many cities. Google Maps is embedded in real estate sites, as well as sites for businesses that want to make sure you can find them. And that's how Google Maps makes money.
Companies pay to be included in Google Maps searches and it earns $89.46 billion annually from advertising. Companies may also be featured as the user zooms in or out on any given map. (See also: How Does Google Maps Make Money?)
Android is sometimes thought of as a phone, because people say they have an “Android phone.” Android is actually a software. It is used in phones, tablets, wearable devices and automobile entertainment systems.
Technically, Google doesn’t own Android, because it is an open-source initiative that Google leads. Google makes its money by using a version of Android it created and then marketing that to manufacturing companies. Those companies include Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, and LG, among others. Google’s revenues from its Android marketing top $31 billion. Android is by far the most popular operating system in use around the world.
DoubleClick is an advertising service. It can target customers and focus on an advertiser's specific pages to bring in revenues. It also allows website owners to place ads on their websites. DoubleClick can tell a publisher how long visitors are on a site and which pages they stay on the longest.
Online publishers use DoubleClick to build their web traffic, product sales, and service sales. Google also uses DoubleClick to promote its own services.
DoubleClick earns $16.52 billion in revenues. Google acquired DoubleClick in 2008.
YouTube is highly popular, and users have become accustomed to seeing short ads at the beginning of most videos on the site. It makes $9 billion per year from advertising. However, there is another value to YouTube that is harder to measure in dollars. By owning this company, Google dominates the online video business.
YouTube has become the go-to source for videos, and looks like it will continue to dominate. YouTube has been considered a “break-even” company by many industry watchers, but its presence as a means of popularizing goods, services and entertainment is priceless.
The Bottom Line
Google continues to snap up companies and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Not all of the companies have lasted with Google, and it has divested itself of many.
Google was widely criticized when it acquired YouTube, because critics could not see any way to monetize the service. Yet Google continues to find ways to create revenues with its products and services. Simply put, the company has been visionary in recognizing the income potential for information products. (See also: Facebook, Google to Continue Digital Ad Domination Says eMarketer.)