Google Inc. yesterday reported that its first-quarter profit more than quadrupled and revenue nearly doubled because of surging online ad sales. The news, disclosed after the close of the regular trading day, sparked a rally in the search engine giant's stock price.
For the three months ended March 31, Google reported profit of $369.2 million ($1.29 a share), up from $64 million (24 cents) in the first quarter last year. Revenue, almost entirely from online advertising on Google and its partner Web sites, increased 93 percent, from $651.6 million to $1.3 billion this year.
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Google stock shot up nearly $20 in after-hours trading as share prices pushed above $220. Google shares, which started the week trading at about $185, started rising earlier this week following rival Yahoo Inc.'s positive earnings report, which was released late Tuesday. Google went public in August at a price of $85 a share.
"Our focus remains very clearly and steadfastly on long-term growth. In the meantime, we have a quarterly earnings report about which we are very pleased," said Google chief executive Eric E. Schmidt.
Millions of computer users use Google to find information rapidly on the World Wide Web. The firm profits when people click on the text-based ads that it serves up alongside its free search results. The company does business in the United States and dozens of foreign countries.
"We were very busy this quarter launching dozens of new products and features," said Google co-founder Larry Page. But, he added, "We remain most focused on the core technology of search."
Sergey Brin, the other co-founder, said the company also put new systems in place that made it easier for large advertisers to join the thousands of small and medium-size firms that promote their products and services on Google. He said Google's online ads enable firms to measure the results of their spending more precisely than with traditional media. "We also see more use of Google advertising by companies for branding to make sure their name and products are known throughout the world," Schmidt said.