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The Google Stock Exchange

A few years ago, back when shares were a modest $200 a pop, I was debating whether or not to buy stock in Google. A friend encouraged me to do it, challenging my hesitation by asking, “Who can stop them?”

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The answer, as it turned out, was no one.

Since the start of 2005, the stock has more than doubled, and Google has managed to get a hand in just about everything. From Google Tools and Desktop to Gmail and Google Talk, from Google Earth and Maps to Google Video and Books, the Internet giant does it all.

Now the Mountain View, CA firm is pioneering new ground in employee compensation. While it’s not something that you can download off the website, I wouldn’t be surprised if other companies start imitating it.

The plan will allow non-executive employees to sell vested stock options through an online-auction exchange. Financial institutions will be able to buy vested options from Google employees at a premium to the option’s value.

These transferable stock options are unique in that they offer an ongoing marketplace for vested stock options, and boost the value of the options for Google staffers. Compensation experts are calling it a smart and groundbreaking move on Google’s part.

And at this rate, it only seems like a matter of time before something called GOOGLEX is competing with the AMEX and NYSE.

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