Google reported third-quarter earnings that topped expectations and announced that Google+ now has 40 million users.

Still the Web’s search leader, the company reported $9.72 billion in revenue and $2.73 billion in net income. Shares surged in after-hours trading, up to 6.8 percent.

Chief executive Larry Page said that the quarter was “great” and that the company is just getting started with Google+. Google Chromebooks were also mentioned in a conference call with investors as an area for growth.

The company saw growth in products and in revenue from its AdSense program, which was up $2.6 billion, an 18 percent increase from the previous year. Cost-per-click also jumped 5 percent from the second quarter, but was still 5 percent lower than the same period last year.

The Google+ numbers were particularly surprising as recent buzz had indicated that the hot social network was cooling at a fast pace. A candid look (that bordered on a rant) from Google engineer Steve Yegge made the rounds Wednesday when Yegge publicly posted a critique of the network that was only meant for his Google co-workers. Calling the network a “knee-jerk reaction” to Facebook, he said that Google should concentrate on building a platform instead of building products.

Yegge later deleted the post, though he said that removing the post was his decision and that Google had not asked him to take it down.

Analysts had been expecting Google’s growth to slow down in the poor economy, and the strong performance should be another feather in Page’s cap as the company moves to complete its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

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