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Google Seeks a Spark

The search giant's many moves haven't helped a static stock.

It's been another event-packed quarter for


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, but investors looking at the company's stock price wouldn't know it.

Shares closed at $476.01 on Wednesday, one day ahead of the company's first-quarter earnings report to be announced after Thursday's closing bell. That's not very far from the $481.75 level it saw at the end of the first trading day of the year.

But despite its static stock price, the company has seen huge developments over that timeframe:

For starters, Google saw media giant


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file a lawsuit for $1 billion against it. In the suit, filed in March, Viacom alleges that Google's YouTube video-sharing service violated its copyright protections by allowing users to post clips from popular Viacom-owned TV shows, like

South Park

, to its site.

The lawsuit followed failed negotiations on a revenue-sharing agreement between the two companies. When the deal fell apart, Viacom ordered Google to remove all Viacom content from YouTube. But many reports have shown that YouTube continued to post impressive gains even after the Viacom content had been taken down.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, meanwhile, dismissed Viacom's lawsuit as a negotiating ploy in an April interview with


. And just Tuesday, Schmidt told a conference in San Francisco that YouTube was working to introduce an automated video-filtering service that would make copyright violation claims moot.

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Google made its biggest splash this year last Friday by announcing that it plans to acquire ad technology firm


for $3.1 billion. In a move that Google says will push its efforts in the online display market forward by years, the search giant reportedly outbid competitor


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to acquire the privately held company. Google also says combining search and display advertising will allow it to innovate new ways of buying ads that advertisers have been clamoring for.

But the acquisition has led to outcries of foul play by a consortium of major companies, led by Microsoft. These companies claim regulators should consider preventing the deal on the grounds that it would give Google too much power in the online ad market. Google, for its part, expressed confidence that it expects the deal to clear trade authorities.

Google also unveiled in February a premium version of Google Apps, its popular online application suite. A lighter, hosted version of the type of tools that rival Microsoft makes, Google Apps was singled out as

potentially the next big money maker by Schmidt. On Tuesday, Google announced that it had added a presentation tool -- along the lines of Microsoft's PowerPoint -- to the suite.

And the company kept plugging away in the mobile sector. The search giant announced new partnerships, a voice-powered search and an

upgrade to its popular maps service that could be particularly well-suited for mobile use. With the number of wireless devices exploding, Google has said that it finds the mobile arena to be particularly promising.

"In our view, the recent launch of MyMaps and Google's superior local search capabilities bode well for its position once transmission rates are improved by technological advancement," Stifel Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt wrote in a research note on Tuesday.

Google also continues its push into more traditional media markets like radio and television, announcing partnerships with broadcaster

Clear Channel

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and satellite TV company


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. By serving ads in multiple markets, Google hopes to create a one-stop shop for advertisers.

Despite these major ambitions, Google still derives the overwhelming majority of its revenue from search advertising. Investors have come to expect strong performances from Google in that market -- and they'll be doing the same on Thursday.

But they'll also be listening closely for when they can expect one of these myriad new projects to start making a real impact on the company's bottom line. And traders will likely have less patience for well-meaning products that don't help financially than they did a quarter ago.

For the first quarter, analysts surveyed by Thomson/First Call are expecting earnings of $3.30 a share on revenue of $2.49 billion. For the year, analysts forecast earnings of $14.33 on revenue of $11.16 billion.