Google reported on Tuesday that its profit climbed and its annual revenue hit a new high last year as it evolved to stay in tune with people using smartphones and tablets.
“We ended 2012 with a strong quarter,” said Google cofounder and chief executive Larry Page. “We hit US$50 billion in revenues for the first time last year; not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half.”
The fourth-quarter profit was up 6.7 percent from a year earlier at US$2.89 billion, and for the full year Google’s earnings grew 10 percent to US$10.74 billion.
Revenue in the quarter that ended on Dec. 31 was up 36 percent from the same period a year earlier at US$14.4 billion. For the year, revenue grew to US$50.2 billion.
Google shares jumped more than 5 percent to US$738.20 in after-market trading that followed release of the earnings figures, which topped most Wall Street estimates.
ONLINE AD GIANT
Google dominates the US online advertising market, which grew 14.9 percent to US$10.58 billion in the final three months of last year, according to eMarketer.
The market tracker estimated that Google takes in more than 41 percent of digital ad revenue in the US and “holds more share than any other company” when it comes to online, display and mobile advertising.
In a conference call with financial analysts, Google executives stressed how the company is connecting with people on smartphones and tablets, and cautioned that it would take time to get freshly acquired Motorola Mobility on course.
Page said he was excited about the progress Google has made in handling search queries spoken to mobile devices and described the online Play shop for music, books, applications and other digital content as “on fire.”
Google’s mapping service program tailored for Apple gadgets running on the iOS platform have been a hit, Page said, adding that its search and e-mail programs are also popular on Apple devices.
“We now live in a multi-screen world; in fact, we feel naked without our smartphones,” Page said.
“Devices have been one of our biggest bets in the last few years, along with the software that goes with these devices,” he said.
In an indirect shot at the Apple iPad Mini launched late last year, Page said Google’s Nexus 7 “continues to define the seven-inch tablet category.”
However, analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley said investors would be watching to see the bites taken from Google revenue by investments in self-driving cars, Internet-linked eyewear, smartphones and other projects.
“Most eyes will be on their build-out,” Enderle said. “Clearly, like Microsoft, they will be expanding their hardware footprint.”