Google plans to spend heavily on expansion

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Google, the fast-growing internet company, plans to spend heavily on acquisitions this year as it continues to expand the range of services offered to internet users and advertisers.

“We expect to spend a significant amount of cash on acquisitions and other investments in 2005,” the company said in a regular quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The California-based company had $2.5bn cash on its balance sheet at the end of March. Last year, it raised $1.2bn net of expenses from an initial public offering.

In addition to acquisitions, Google plans to spend $600m this year to expand its datacenters. Most of this investment will go towards the purchase of new servers and networking equipment to support its search engine and related services.

Since its IPO, Google has expanded rapidly the range of services offered to internet users. The company earlier this month launched a trial version of Web Accelerator, software designed to increase the speed of web browsing. Other recent triasl or 'beta' launches include Google Maps and Google Ride Finder, designed to locate the exact position of taxis by using data supplied by taxi companies.

In its 10-Q filing, the company suggests that acquisitions will focus on new technologies rather than brands or market share. “Through these acquisitions and investments we acquire engineering teams and technologies that we believe will help us expand and grow our business,” it said.

Google stock gained $1.81 to $231.05 on Monday, a shade below its all-time high and valuing the company at $63bn. The shares were offered last August at $85.

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