Investors in Google may well regard the California-headquartered corporate wunderkind with mixed sentiments.

Some will voice delight at the phenomenal success that has powered it in less than ten months from publicly-listed debutante to the world's largest media company by stock market value.

Others might fear that even the most spectacular shooting stars are already dying as they flare incandescently through the heavens.

As of Tuesday Google lit up the sky with a stock valuation of $80 billion (€64.94bn; £43.55bn) on the New York Stock Market, propelling it ahead of Time Warner at $78bn.

The fatuity of this event - and of the stock market ethos in general - is underscored by two contrasting numbers. Time Warner's annual sales revenue is $42bn; Google's is $3.2bn.

"Google is not a conventional company. We don't intend to become one," the company's founding ex-student duo, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, told Wall Street and the US financial establishment when they announced the initial public offering of their desirable property [WAMN: 30-Apr-04].

The more cynical observers of the Google phenomenon see the shooting star analogy as apt. Companies that live by technological change, die by technological change, they warn - as they scan the skies for the next rutilant technomiracle.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff