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10/13/2011
05:20 PM
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Google Revenue Surge Sets Record

Google posts almost $10 billion in revenue for quarter, says 550,000 Android devices being activated daily.

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Google on Thursday delivered another stellar quarter, exceeding Wall Street analysts' revenue predictions.

Financial analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected non-GAAP earnings-per-share of $8.74 and net revenue of $7.21 billion for Google's Q3. Google did far better: The company reported $9.72 non-GAAP earnings-per-share and net revenue of $7.51 billion. The company's total revenue, before traffic acquisition costs, came to $9.72 billion, a new quarterly record.

Google CEO Larry Page said that the company had a great quarter and that its revenue had grown 32% year-on-year. "Google+ is now open to everyone and we just passed the 40 million user mark," he said in a statement. "People are flocking into Google+ at an incredible rate and we are just getting started!"

This comes a day after Google engineer Steve Yegge offered a less glossy view of Google+ in a Google+ post. He intended to make his post available only to his Google colleagues--a privacy feature touted by Google--but inadvertently made it public instead. He characterized the Google+ platform as "a pathetic afterthought."

[What do you think: Is Google+ Down, Or Out? Learn what others have to say.]

In a conference call for investors, Page gave himself high marks in his first quarter as CEO. The new management structure he put in place, he said, was working fabulously.

Google's spending remains a concern among analysts, particularly with regard to employee costs. The company in January said that it expected to hire as many as 6,200 employees in 2011, a record for the company. But it has exceeded that estimate already: Google has hired 6,953 people in the first three quarters of 2011.

Page defended Google's hunger for talent. "Great companies are no greater than the efforts and ingenuity of their people," he said, observing that it's necessary to keep employees happy. Conceding that the company might be a bit ahead of its hiring needs, he indicated that Google would continue hiring as necessary. "We will optimize headcount for the long term and the opportunities we see," he said.

In terms of metrics, Page and other executives on the call had some notable accomplishments to report: 550,000 Android devices are being activated daily, a trend that has resulted in the activation of 135 million Android devices to date; the Chrome browser now has over 160 million users worldwide, about twice the number of users from a year ago; and Google+ has reached 40 million users.

Notably absent however were any metrics related to the company's Chromebook launch in June. Susan Wojcicki, SVP of advertising at Google, mentioned that Google's hardware partners, Acer and Samsung, had made Chromebooks available in seven countries in addition to the United States, but offered no information about the number of Chromebooks sold.

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