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Google going social as profit soars

15 july 2011, 14:57
0
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. ©AFP
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. ©AFP
Google on Thursday released blockbuster earnings figures along with word that more than 10 million people have already joined its freshly-launched online social network, AFP reports.

Google stock prices climbed more than 12 percent to $595.80 after release of the earnings figures by executives who effused about Google+, YouTube, Android and other products promising even better days ahead for the company.

"If you look at the arsenal we are building it is really quite formidable," Goggle chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said during an earnings conference call.

Google reported that its profit climbed to $2.51 billion in the recently-ended fiscal quarter on record-high revenue.

"We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32 percent year-on-year for a record-breaking over $9 billion of revenue," Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page said on the call.

Slightly more than half of Google's revenue, $4.87 billion, came from outside the United States, the company reported.

Paid "clicks" on Internet ads at the heart of the Mountain View, California company's money-making machine were 18 percent higher than in the same quarter last year.

Google reported that as of June 30 it had 28,768 full-time employees as compared to the 26,316 workers on the company's global payroll at the end of the first three months of this year.

Compensation increases put in place at Google early this year to attract and retain workers worked surprisingly well, according to Page.

"A lot more people want to work at Google and stay working at Google than we expected," Page said. "I think we are at the edge of what we can add."

Page was happy with management restructuring instituted after he took the Google helm from Eric Schmidt in April.

"We have increased our velocity of execution this quarter, which has been a key goal of mine," Page said. "The new management team is working together fabulously."

His stated goals included simplifying and streamlining Google's product line, putting "more wood into fewer arrows."

Google is building on its strong suit, Internet search and advertising, while investing in video-sharing service YouTube, mobile platform Android, and Chrome web browsing software that hold revenue generating potential, Page said.

Google is nurturing new products to capitalize on the unrelenting popularity of smartphones and tablet computers as well as online social networking.

Google+, a rival to Facebook, launched on June 28 and has been a hit despite the fact that membership is invitation-only while the service remains in a test phase.

"Over 10 million people have joined Google+," Page said. "That is a great achievement for the team."

Google+ users can separate online friends and family into different "Circles," or networks, and share information only with members of a particular circle such as family or friends.

One of the criticisms of Facebook is that updates are shared with all of one's friends unless a user has gone through a relatively complicated process to create separate Facebook Groups.

"Not all relationships are created equal," senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra noted when Google+ launched online at plus.google.com.

Google+ is becoming a viable threat to Facebook, according to analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.

"We may have another Facebook-MySpace event in play," Enderle said, referring to Facebook seizing the social network throne from MySpace.

"If Google+ gets to critical mass, Facebook is going to have a race."

Google+ also promises to be a hub fueling use of YouTube, Offers, Android, Chrome and other products from the company.

"It is very strategic," Enderle said of Google+. "Facebook and Microsoft should be very concerned."


By Glenn Chapman

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