Sat, Oct 15, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Google profits soar on online ventures

SERIOUS BUSINESS:Revenue in the third quarter was up 33 percent year-on-year, with most of the money coming from online advertising and the fast-growing new Google+


The profiles of two men in are pictured in front of a monitor with the logo of the social network Google+ in Hanover, Germany, on Sept. 21.

Photo: EPA

Google on Thursday reported a big jump in profits in the three months to last month as its budding online social network blossomed and Android smartphones gained traction.

Net income rose to US$2.73 billion on the wings of online advertising revenue that soared to US$9.72 billion in the third quarter, which ended on Sept. 30.

“The word that springs to mind is ‘gangbusters,’” Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page said at the start of an earnings conference call with press and analysts.

“Ever since I’ve taken over as CEO, I’ve focused much of my energy on increasing Google’s velocity and execution,” he continued. “The team is really cranking.”

Revenue was up 33 percent compared with the same quarter last year, with the bulk of the money being raked in at the California-based Internet powerhouse’s online properties.

Google’s stock price jumped more than 6 percent to US$594.53 a share in after-hours trading, following the release of the earnings report.

Page said Google’s online social networking challenge to Facebook was growing fast and has topped 40 million users. Facebook boasts 800 million users.

“People are flocking to Google+ at an incredible rate and we are just getting started,” he said, adding that billions of digital photos had already been shared at Google+.

Social features highlighted at Google+ will be “baked in” to the Internet star’s other online offerings, according to the chief executive.

“Last quarter we shipped ‘plus’ and now we are going to ship the Google part,” Page said of weaving social and sharing features throughout the firm’s platform.

“We are still at the very early stages of what technology can deliver,” he added.

“These tools we use online will look very different in five years’ time and we are building these tools into Google-plus,” he said.

The Internet giant on Sept. 20 opened to the public as it ramped up its challenge to leading social network Facebook.

The move came with an array of improvements Google had made to the social network it launched in an invitation-only test format on June 28.

Meanwhile, use of Chrome is “through the roof,” with more than 200 million people using the Google-made software for browsing the Internet, according to Page.

He added that the spread of Android was “mind boggling” with more than 190 million smartphones or tablet computers around the world being powered by the Google-backed operating system for mobile devices.

“You won’t believe what we managed to get done in Ice Cream Sandwich,” Page said, referring to the latest version of Android to make its formal debut next week in Hong Kong at an event being held by consumer electronics titan Samsung.

Google reported that it was on track to bring in US$2.5 billion in revenue a year from mobile offerings.

Page brushed aside inquiries about legal attacks on Android devices by rivals Microsoft and Apple, saying that Google would staunchly defend itself against intellectual property claims.

“We are serious about protecting the Android ecosystem,” Page said.

“While there are lots of people trying to attack it, we see no signs that it is effective and think it will alienate their customers and relationships with other companies,” he added.

Google has been eliminating 20 products in recent months as part of a mission to streamline its offerings and better focus resources.

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