SAN FRANCISCO – Google hit another milestone Tuesday in its journey from Web newbie to Wall Street elite when its share price cracked $500, putting the new media company's value on track to one day possibly surpass old corporate giants such as Exxon Mobile.
Google's shares rose 3 percent to a record high at $510, ranking it among the Nasdaq's biggest gainers. Google ended at $509.65, up $14.60.
That left Google (GOOG) with a market value of about $154 billion — crowning it as Silicon Valley's most valuable business just eight years after former Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin started the business in a garage. Compare that to corporate heavyweight title holder Exxon Mobil, whose market value is about $425 billion.
The Mountain View-based company has eclipsed the likes of Intel Corp. (INTC), the world's largest computer chip maker, and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), a high-tech pioneer that also famously started in a garage 67 years ago.
Google's stock price can be attributed to a few factors. Share price is dictated not just by performance, but also by institutional decisions, such as the number of shares issued.
A company that wishes to reduce volatility of their share price may resist the urge to split the stock. Splits make a stock more affordable for ordinary investors, but vastly increase its trading volume.
Google has yet to split its stock, which has held the price higher.
One other example of a company that has resisted the urge to split is investing icon Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A), which is priced at an astounding $107,500.
By way of comparison, other big ticker symbols with high price tags pale in comparison to the Web search leader when it comes to share price.
On Tuesday morning Toyota (TM) was priced at $118.17, International Business Machines (IBM) at $92.92, Microsoft (MSFT) at $29.97 and Exxon Mobil (XOM) at $73.05. Yahoo (YHOO), Google's chief rival in the Internet space, was trading at $27.01.
Google's remarkable success has minted Page and Brin, both 33, as multibillionaires along with their hand-picked chief executive, Eric Schmidt.
Hundreds of other Google employees are millionaires because so many investors want to own a piece of a company that has become the Internet's most powerful financial force while building a brand so ingrained in society that it has become part of the English language.
It took slightly more than a year for Google's shares to travel from $400 to $500 — the stock's longest journey from one major milestone to the next since the company priced its initial public offering at $85 in August 2004.
The shares topped $100 on their first day of trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market, then crossed $200 in less than three months. The stock broke through $300 another seven months later in June 2005 and then breached $400 on Nov. 17 last year.
The latest spurt of optimism appeared to reflect a belief that Google will quickly introduce ways to mine more online advertising revenue from its just-completed $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube Inc. Google used its stock to finance the deal.
Google currently has made most of its money selling brief written ads that are posted alongside search results and other online content, but management believes it can mine even bigger profits by expanding into video and delivering more messages to mobile computing devices.
Management also wants to extend Google's advertising clout beyond the Web. The company is currently testing a program to place ads in 50 of the nation's largest newspapers and hopes to begin distributing radio ads by the end of this year.
FOXNews.com's Alexander B. Duncan and Megan Dowd and The Associated Press contributed to this report.