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Can Google Inc (GOOG) Get To $1,000?

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Each week, I endeavor to report the results of the Big Idea Portfolio, a collection of five tech stocks that I believe will crush the market over a three-year period. I’ve done it before; my last tussle with Mr. Market ended with my beating the index’s average return by 13.35%.

Real money was on the line then as it is now, which means any one of the five stocks you see below could tip the scales in my favor. This time, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) stock rose 3.3% during the week of its annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

Skeptics will note that the search king didn’t announce much at I/O, and they’re right. CEO Larry Page instead spent time describing how “sad” he was to see Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) embrace Google Talk in Outlook.com without opening up its own services for Google to connect to.

So why remain bullish? Star Trek.

Google Inc (GOOG)At I/O, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced progress in making its signature search engine more intelligent and interactive on every device we use. Spoken questions will get spoken answers. Think less Siri, and more ship’s computer from Star Trek.

“Soon, you’ll be able to just say, hands-free, ‘OK, Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?’ and get a spoken answer,” wrote Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) senior vice president Amit Singhal in a blog post. “Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with ‘How far is it from here?’ if you care about the drive, or ‘How about Monterey?’ if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer,”

The point? Google is as focused as ever on organizing, presenting, and profiting from the world’s data. Investors should love that.

What’s the Big Idea this week?
The Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) stock rally, combined with bigger gains from salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), came just shy of erasing losses elsewhere. As a result, the Big Idea Portfolio forfeited 82 basis points in our three-year contest to see who can do better for investors.

Once again, all four indexes gained. The small-cap Russell 2000 led the way with another 2.17% jump, followed by the S&P 500’s 2.07% gain, the Nasdaq’s 1.82% bump, and the Dow’s 1.56% improvement, according to data supplied by The Wall Street Journal. Here’s a closer look at where I stood through Friday’s close:

Company Starting Price* Recent Price Total Return
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) $413.52** $433.26 4.8%
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) $650.09 $909.18 39.9%
Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE:RAX) $41.65 $39.68 (4.7%)
Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD) $25.95 $16.24 (37.4%)
salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) $25.26** $46.79 85.2%
AVERAGE RETURN 17.56%
S&P 500 SPDR $124.39** $166.94 34.21%
DIFFERENCE (16.65%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.
* Tracking began at market close on Jan. 6, 2012.
** Adjusted for dividends, splits, and other returns of capital.

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