Googles Brin: Still Slow to IPO

Company co-founder Sergey Brin told the crowd at Search Engine Strategies 2003 that his company doesn't feel pressured to go public.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Expect the wait to continue for the much-anticipated initial public offering of search engine stalwart Google Inc.

Company co-founder Sergey Brin said Wednesday that while Googles board of directors discuss the possibility of an IPO regularly—about "every third meeting"—the company has not decided on when, or if, to go public.

"Theres a good chance that eventually we will," said Brin, speaking at Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo 2003 here. "But its not the most pressing thing for us."

While going public would build cash, it also would add demands from Wall Street that could distract company management, said Brin, Google president of technology. Google instead is focusing on refining its search-engine results and pushing new functionality at a time when greater competition is on the horizon.

Yahoo Inc., which uses Google as the search engine on its portal, acquired search engine developer Inktomi Corp. in March and announced plans in July to buy paid search provider Overture Services Inc. These moves have raised the specter of Yahoo! eventually dropping Google from its portal and competing more aggressively with Google in providing search engines to Web sites and enterprises and in the search ad market.

/zimages/7/26680.gifRead how IBM is turning up the heat on Google with its own search technology.

Meanwhile, Mountain View, Calif.-based Google itself is an attractive acquisition target. While he wouldnt name names, Brin said that the companys board has been approached by potential suitors.

"Weve always said No, and were pleased with the trajectory were on," he said.

Part of that trajectory has been introducing a range of new functionality and business. Earlier this month, it released a new version of its toolbar, which adds its search directly in a Web browser, introduced a calculator feature on its search site and announced hundreds of customers for an enterprise search appliance.

/zimages/7/26680.gifCheck out eWEEK Labs review of Googles new search appliance.

More fundamentally, the company every month tests a half-dozen tweaks to its core search engine to improve results, Brin said. Googles search index has grown to nearly 4 billion Web pages, Brin said.

"Over time, our searches will only get better," Brin promised.