Poor Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) (GOOGL) . Shares of the $645 billion internet giant have "only" added 19% to their market value so far in 2017, taking up the rear compared to the firm's hotly watched FAANG peers.

While Alphabet's double-digit rally has added around $100 billion to its market capitalization since the calendar flipped to January, other tech titans have dwarfed that. The other FAANG stocks -- Facebook (FB) , Apple (AAPL) , Amazon.com (AMZN) , and Netflix (NFLX) -- have all rallied between 31% and 48% so far this year.

Facebook's massive 48% upside move has created approximately $60 billion more value than Alphabet's run. And Apple's breathtaking 38% rally has generated $231 billion in new value for shareholders this year -- or more than a third of the total market cap of Alphabet itself.

All that wealth creation makes it easy to forget that Alphabet is still the dominant name in online ads -- and that's not changing even if Facebook is playing catch-up.

Make no mistake. Alphabet -- parent company to Google as well as the smart-home-tech maker Nest, the healthcare research arm Verily, secret R&D unit Google X, and a handful of other businesses -- is still an advertising company. Google itself generates approximately 99% of Alphabet revenue, and almost 88% of that is generated by online advertising.

And that core advertising business continues to grow at double-digit rates despite its massive scale.

Alphabet, Facebook and Apple are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells them? Learn more now.

Google generated almost $12 billion more ad revenue in the last year, more than the $9.7 billion in revenue growth that Facebook managed to pull off. Even though Facebook's revenue bump in the last year was a bigger chunk of the younger company's total revenue, Alphabet's massive scale makes its ability to pull off such substantial growth rates all the more impressive.

Ultimately, it's not an either-or call.

Both companies have ample runway ahead, particularly as they leverage their substantial user ecosystems and new machine-learning technologies to offer advertisers more targeted ad products than were available just a few years ago -- at rates that reflect that high level of sophistication.

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One key difference, though, is valuation.

2017's FAANG rally has left big tech with hefty valuations. Only, Alphabet has a massive pile of cash -- around $97.5 billion on a net basis right now. That cash position is enough to pay for approximately 15% of Alphabet's current market capitalization at current levels, giving the firm plenty of options in this market.

While Alphabet doesn't quite sport the "bargain" valuation seen at Apple right now, it does look attractive vs. Facebook from a defensive standpoint. And as investors start to get anxious about Mr. Market's ability to hold onto the high ground U.S. equities have been hovering over all summer, being positioned on the defensive side of a momentum space is a good place to be.

Currently, the average Wall Street price target on Alphabet is $1,088.59. That indicates analysts expect another 16% upside in the year ahead from where shares sit today. If it happens, Alphabet would still be one of the less extended FAANG stocks in 2017.

That's good reason to give Alphabet a closer look this summer. As long as GOOGL shares hold above $920 (or $900 for GOOG), the uptrend is still intact. Buy the dips.

Facebook is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells FB? Learn more now.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.

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