Strong online ad sales save Google’s bacon in Q4

23 Jan 2009

Google says it will continue to invest in its core search and ads business, as well as display, mobile and enterprise despite the continuing economic uncertainty.

In the company’s fourth quarter results Google reported revenues of US$5.7bn, an 18pc increase on the previous year and 3pc on the prior quarter.

Google’s operating income for the fourth quarter was US$1.8bn, or 33pc of revenues, up 30pc on the third quarter.

However, net income fell substantially to US$382m from US$1.5bn in the third quarter.

Google-owned sites generated revenues of US$3.8bn – some 67pc of total revenue – up 22pc over the fourth quarter of 2007, and up 4pc on the third quarter of 2008.

The company’s partner sites generated 30pc of total revenues with sales of US$1.69bn via the AdSense programme, up 4pc year-on-year and 1pc over the third quarter.

Revenues from outside the US totalled US$2.8bn, 50pc of total revenues.  These revenues would have been US$266m higher if foreign exchange rates had remained constant, the company said.

“Google performed well in the fourth quarter, despite an increasingly difficult economic environment,” said CEO Eric Schmidt.

“Search query growth was strong, revenues were up in most verticals, and we successfully contained costs,” said Schmidt.

“It’s unclear how long the global downturn will last, but our focus remains on the long term, and we’ll continue to invest in Google’s core search and ads business as well as in strategic growth areas such as display, mobile, and enterprise,” Schmidt said.

Google also announced today that it is planning to offer employees a voluntary, one-for-one stock option exchange, a move intended to create more incentives for employees to remain at Google and contribute to achieving its business objectives.

In Ireland, Google employs over 1,500 people.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years