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Google cranks ad money machine to $8.58bn

Page presides over 27% leap

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Google's first quarter profits weren't quite as stellar as Wall Street expected, as the web giant boosted salaries across the company, hired an additional 1,900 minds, and continued to pour money into its worldwide network of data centers.

The company's non-GAAP earnings reached $3.23 billion in quarter ending March 31, or about $8.08 a share. The Wall Street guessmen has anticipated $8.10 per share. Nonetheless, earnings rose 16 per cent over the same quarter last year. Revenues reached $8.58 billion, a 27 per cent leap from 2010. "We had a great quarter with 27% year-over-year revenue growth,” Google CFO Patrick Pichette said in a canned statement.

“These results demonstrate the value of search and search ads to our users and customers, as well as the extraordinary potential of areas like display and mobile. It's clear that our past investments have been crucial to our success today – which is why we continue to invest for the long term."

Once and future CEO Larry Page appeared on today's earnings call with analysts and reporters, but he disappeared after a few token words. "I’m very excited about Google and our momentum, and I’m very optimistic about our future," he said, acknowledging that he had reorganized the company's management structure to "simplify" the organization.

Google-owned and -operated sites delivered revenues of $5.88 billion, 69 per cent of total Q1 revenues and a 32 per cent increase over 2010. Displaying Google AdSense ads, partner sites produced revenues of $2.43 billion of total revenues, a 19 per cent increase from last year.

Other revenues were down 10 per cent from Q1 2010. According to Pichette, who handled most of Thursday's call, this reflects the fact that in the first quarter of last year, Google introduced the Nexus One, its very own Android phone. The company has since discarded the direct-to-phone-buyer sales model.

Aggregate paid clicks increased roughly 18 per cent over the first quarter of 2010 and about 4 per cent over the fourth quarter, while the cost per click increased 8 per cent from 2010 and about 1 per cent from Q4. ®

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