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The Google IPO had more twists and turns than the average soap opera plot. But it finally happened, and shares of Google (GOOG) started trading on the Nasdaq shortly before 11am ET.

I long ago decided the Google IPO was going to be too rich for my blood, but I was curious to see what happened with it.

GOOG quote window at market open GOOG trading queue at market open. 7:30:00 is Eastern Time. Market opens at 9:30:00 ET.

When the markets opened this morning, I put GOOG in my watchlist and was reassured that the symbol was recognized. But, of course, there was no activity at the opening. And it remained that way until past 11:30 ET. Then things started to happen.

At 11:38:19 ET, a single offer and a single bid appeared in the queue, along with an indication that 350 shares had traded at $135.909. I leaped from Conclusion Cliff: Not exactly flying off the shelves, those shares, are they?

Thirty-eight seconds later, a couple more entries popped into the queue, but now the volume showed as 150 shares. Whoa! What's happening here? And the spread between bid and offer was enormous: $49.00 vs $137.00.

And so it went for about 15 minutes, with volume always showing as 0. By 11:54:31 ET there were 5 bids and 5 offers showing, at $49.00 and $180.93 respectively.

Apparently all of this was some sort of system test, done live and in public. Who would have guessed?

Queue, five seconds after trading started. Size is number of shares, in hundreds.

At 11:55 ET (who knows, perhaps 11:55:00 exactly) the floodgates opened and by 11:55:05 more than 146,000 shares had traded between $95.00 and $100.51.

Most offers and bids were for odd lots (100 shares or fewer). At the top of the queue, the spreads had narrowed.

With a half-hour left in the session, more than 20.3 million shares have traded between $95.00 and $104.06 (see chart below). This seems a rather tight range to me, for opening day. Perhaps the Dutch auction process really did constrain irrational exhuberance.

GOOG 1-minute chart
Google 1-minute chart for first day of trading, with a half-hour left to go..