Google's parent company Alphabet briefly hit a market capitalisation of $2 trillion on Monday, joining other US technology firms Apple ($2.47tn) and Microsoft ($2.53tn) in the $2tn club.
The California-based company achieved this mark less than two years after hitting $1tn in January last year. However, the stock price retreated later, pushing the market value back down to about $1.98tn at the close of trading on Monday.
The company's share price has rallied about 73 per cent since the start of the year.
Despite pandemic-led disruptions, Google — Alphabet's biggest company — maintained its position as the top earner of global advertising revenue.
Last year, the company earned 27.5 per cent of net global advertising revenue, a May report from eMarketer found.
It was followed by Facebook, which garnered 22.3 per cent of advertising revenue, and both companies were trailed by e-commerce firms Alibaba (8.6 per cent) and Amazon (5.2 per cent) as well as Tencent (2.9 per cent), the world's largest gaming company in terms of revenue.
Alphabet, the world's largest provider of search and video advertisements, reported a 68.4 per cent annual jump in third-quarter net profit to $18.9 billion in the three months to the end of September.
This growth was underpinned by the strong performance of Google Services business, which includes advertisements, Android, Chrome, hardware, Maps, Search, Google Play and YouTube.
Since its founding in 1998, the company has diversified its portfolio and entered many new revenue streams.
In 2005, it bought the Android operating system, which is currently used by more than 2.5 billion people, for $50 million. This strategic acquisition came two years before the launch of Apple’s first iPhone in 2007.
The company bought YouTube — the world’s biggest video-sharing site — for $1.65bn in 2006. In the last quarter, YouTube added more than $7.2bn to Alphabet’s revenue, surging more than 43 per cent annually, and was close to streaming service company Netflix’s third-quarter revenue of $7.5bn.
With its continued growth, the company has attracted antitrust lawsuits and the scrutiny of federal and state investigators.
In June, it agreed to pay $268m to French authorities and said it would change the way its online advertising works to settle a 2019 antitrust case that alleged the technology company had abused its dominant position in the industry.
It was also fined $1.3m by French authorities in February for misleading consumers with its ratings of hotels and tourist destinations.
And in September 2019, Google agreed to pay more than $1bn to French tax authorities to settle a long-running tax dispute.
Alphabet was fined $1.7bn in March 2019 by the EU for practices deemed to be anticompetitive. This followed previous antitrust disputes in 2017 and 2018 that led to the company being slapped with total fines of $7.8bn.
Last year, the US Department of Justice and 11 state governments filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google for “unlawfully maintaining the monopolies in the market” for online searches and stifling competition in the process.