Poll: Is Google Spreading Itself Too Thin?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - As Google ( GOOG) gets set to report first-quarter earnings tonight, investors are wondering whether the company has spread itself too thin.

I've often called Google a giant venture capital firm backed by the profits of its search advertising business, with good reason.

Google started as a search engine company when Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in a Stanford University laboratory, but is now much more than that.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm is currently in the middle of acquiring Motorola Mobility ( MMI) in an attempt to boost its gadget credentials. Google, thanks to its Android OS, competes with Apple ( AAPL) and Research In Motion ( RIMM) in the smartphone segment. There are also rumors the company is making its own tablet, possibly for a summer launch. Google's social network, Google+, is also trying to compete with Facebookand Twitter. The company even is testing out new eyewear, with its Project Glass initiative.

Google's attempt to be all things to all people has hardly benefited its shareholders recently. Since 2012 started, Google shares have lost 0.44%, compared to a 17.05% gain in the Nasdaq and a 55.4% gain in Apple. It's even under-performing "Google-clones", such as Baidu ( BIDU) and Yandex ( YNDX).

When Google missed fourth-quarter earnings, TheStreet penned a piece debating whether investors should avoid Google stock. Since that time, Google shares have gained 9.89%, outpacing the 9.52% gain seen in the Nasdaq.

All of these factors add up to one question: Is Google spreading itself too thin? Should the company drastically cut down on the initiatives it takes? We want to know what you think. Take our poll and results will be up tomorrow afternoon.

Shares of Google are higher in Thursday trading, up 1.26% to $644.00.

Has Google spread itself too thin?

Yes. The company spends countless dollars on initiatives that fail instead of making existing segments stronger.
No. Google's innovation is what drives the company at heart. It needs to continue making bets to drive stakeholder value.
I'm not sure. Some of Google's initiatives are great, while others are very puzzling.

Interested in more on Google? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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