spark image
Photo: Maxim Hopman / Unsplash

FAANG stocks: The big 'uns

5 symbols
FAANG, if you haven't guessed already, is an acronym, standing for: Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet (Google). These tech businesses are the biggest, most well-known names in town, and have a combined market cap of trillions. You'll definitely have heard of them. Or you should have.

Symbol summaries


Technically, the ‘F’ was taken out of FAANG after Facebook changed its name to Meta, although ‘MAANG’ doesn’t sound quite as imposing. Created in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room in 2004, Meta’s reached a market cap of more than $250bn. Facebook’s what started it all, but Meta has since acquired Instagram and WhatsApp making it the biggest social media company on the planet. These days, the company’s biggest competitors take the form of Google, Twitter, and TikTok in the engagement battle, but it’s also been paving the way for mainstream adoption of the metaverse (hence the name)– although, that whole thing has hardly been going to plan.


The iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry with a single button and a multi-touch screen, but Apple’s been set on the path to glory long before the iPhone’s release in 2007. Since the launch of the Apple Computer 1 all the way back in 1976, Apple has grown to become the most valuable brand in the world with the highest market capitalization of all the FAANG stocks, hovering at around $2.3tn dollars… Don’t think about how much that is for too long or your head will hurt. With the iPhone still the most popular smartphone in the world by sales, it’s safe to say Apple isn’t going anywhere in the near future.


It’s a challenge these days to find a household that doesn’t have an Amazon-delivered product perched somewhere. Starting out as an online marketplace for books in 1994, Amazon has since grown to become the largest online retailer in the world with a market cap of $1.2tn and revenues in the hundreds of billions each year. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, has also become a household name, climbing the ranks of wealth to become the third richest person in the world. These days, the company has expanded far beyond the realms of online shopping, now offering video streaming, gaming, cloud computing and payment services.


Netflix’s popularity has become so great that the company’s name is now synonymous with the phrase ‘television’. Netflix’s history goes back further than some might expect – starting in 1997 as a mail-based video-renting service, the invention of video streaming would propel the company into stardom. With a market cap of just $107bn it's the smallest stock of the FAANG group, but make no mistake – it’s a force to be reckoned with. As of Q3 2022 the service had more than 220m paying monthly subscribers across 190 countries. Nowadays, the streaming giant is moving into the mobile gaming industry, acquiring Next Games for €65m in March 2022.


Google is a tech behemoth with its search engine now the most visited website in the world. Its beginnings go back to 1998, when Harvard PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin began working on a research project called “BackRub”. Interestingly, its current name is a misspelling of the word googol, meaning 10 raised to the power 100 – since being named, the word ‘Google’ has become synonymous with browsing the web. The company now has a market cap of $1.3tn and no longer focuses only on web search. It has since moved into cloud computing, gaming, music streaming and even smartphone, smartwatch and laptop development.