Google said on Thursday its profit climbed to US$3.35 billion in the first three months of the year as revenue thrived, despite a trend toward cheaper ads on smartphones and tablets.
“We had a very strong start to 2013, with US$14.0 billion in revenue, up 31 percent year-on-year,” Google chief executive Larry Page said.
Google shares that ended the official NASDAQ trading day slightly down regained ground in after-hours trades to US$777, with a profit figure that topped Wall Street expectations.
The number of paid clicks on ads posted on Google pages was 20 percent greater than those seen in the first quarter last year and up 3 percent from the final quarter of last year.
Meanwhile, in a closely watched figure, the cost per click for advertisers dropped 4 percent, indicating a trend toward less expensive mobile ads.
Google executives lauded the earnings in a conference call with financial analysts, but spent ample time highlighting “big bets,” ranging from Android mobile gadget software to self-driving cars and Internet-linked glasses.
“Over the past two years we have worked hard to increase our velocity and improve our execution on the big bets that will change the world,” Page said.
“Companies can tend to get comfortable doing what they’ve always done with a few minor tweaks,” he added. “But incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time. That is why we are investing in what appear to be speculative products today, such as self-driving cars.”
Google this week began shipping Internet-synched eyewear to software developers who signed on to experiment with them at a cost of US$1,500 a pair, which is expected to hit the consumer market by the end of the year.
In another technology bet, Google has its sights set on Provo, Utah, to become the third US city to get a Google Fiber network that moves Internet data at a gigabyte-per-second, about a thousand times faster than typical service.
Blazingly fast Internet connections could increase the moneymaking potential of data-rich services such as YouTube and Google TV.
Google’s ad strategy is to improve the ability to get messages to people at the right times and places across an array of Internet-linked devices, including watches, glasses and other forms not yet invented.
“It is not about tablet, smartphone or desktop,” Google chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said.
“The real question is, are we growing the pie of your day with Google, helping you through the day on all your devices,” he said.