ARS Technica analyzed Google's financial results and reports the search engine had $11.2 billion cash and short-term investments at hand at the end of 2006. This is a 433% increase from the $2.1 billion in 2004.
If you've got a big war chest, one use for it is acquisitions, and Google has been very aggressive in that area. It is proving itself willing to spend large amounts on goodwill, which accounts for intangible assets like brand name, reputation, employee morale, and other factors that play into a company's performance. Google's acquisition of YouTube was valued at $1.19 billion (only $21.2 million of which was cash) and of that, $1.13 billion was goodwill and only $24 million was for patents and developed technology.