Google Shares Break Through Price Barrier

The stock surges past $300 as the company ramps up its video-search offering.
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The spring is back in

Google's

(GOOG) - Get Report

step -- or at least in its stock -- which popped above the $300 level in the final hour of trading Monday for the first time ever.

Google ended the day up $6.85, or 2.3%, to $304.74, giving the search giant a market cap of $84.5 billion. Such impressively large numbers often invoke comparisons with world economies, so here goes: Google's market value is worth slightly more than the economies of Sri Lanka and Slovakia, but still remains just behind New Zealand and Iraq.

Google's stock has charged at the closely watched $300 point before but failed to break above it. On June 7, the stock rose as high as $299.59 before dropping back to $267.43 about a week later.

While it wasn't clear what news, if any, precipitated the rise, Google announced on Monday that it added an in-browser video player for visitors to download so they can play back video files found via the company's new video-search product. The video search could easily position Google for a new line of revenue -- something investors have been impatient for, since the company's finances are nearly entirely dependent on search ads.

In April, Google had put out a call for people to upload their personal videos to its database. An undisclosed number responded, sending videos including dramatic images of monkeys performing karate and robotic dogs assaulting iguanas.

Rather than issuing a press release Monday, Google announced the new video player on its corporate blog. "Now we're ready to start displaying all that stuff," wrote Google engineer Matthew Vosburgh on the call for video submissions. "A feature we're especially pleased with is search within a video, which means you will get a result pointing to the precise spot in the video that matches your query."

Tellingly, Google didn't simply opt for allowing

Microsoft's

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ubiquitous Media Player to handle its video files but developed one in-house based on VLC, a noncommercial media software developed through the open-source project VideoLAN. Google doesn't seem to be eager to do any favors for Microsoft, whose Longhorn operating system is being developed in direct competition with Google's search technology.

With Google Video, the company appears to be inching toward a pay-per-view model. Last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt confirmed that the company is developing "payment services" that "are a natural evolution of Google's existing online products and advertising programs" though not a direct competitor to

eBay's

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PayPal. Google Video is likely to be among the first of its products to employ a payment service.

In the FAQ section for Google Video, the company notes that users who upload their videos to Google's database can "give away your video for free or charge a price that you set for it. If you do charge a price, Google will take a small revenue share to cover some of our costs. If our costs to play your video on Google are extraordinary, we may charge users a fee."

Google is not alone in offering video searches.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

has long offered a search engine that scours videos available on Web sites when a search term is entered.