Things looked so bleak in 2009 that Google took the rare step of re-pricing stock options that had been doled out to its employees to give them a chance to make more money when the shares rebounded. The program allowed Google workers to swap their old stock options for new ones with an exercise price of about $308.
Even after the economy snapped out of the recession toward the end of 2009, Google's stock began to lag the rest of the market. Investors began to wonder if the company was losing its competitive age as it morphed from a hard-charging startup to giant organization with thousands of employees working in dozens of offices scattered around the world.
At the same time, Facebook was emerging as the Internet's fastest growing company in a meteoric rise. The social networking company had some people convinced it would eventually become a more important advertising vehicle than Google's search engine.
Perceptions have changed since Page became CEO. Under Page's leadership, Google has streamlined its decision-making and operations while closing dozens of services. It established its own toehold in social networking with the 2011 introduction of Google Plus.
Meanwhile, Facebook Inc. has lost much of the luster that made its initial public offering of stock one of the biggest in U.S. history. Since going public at $38, Facebook's stock has sunk 25 percent.
By contrast, Google's stock has never slipped below its August 2004 IPO price of $85.