Second-quarter net income grew 24 percent from a year earlier. The stock was up nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading from the close of $745.91 a share.
Google itself posted revenue of $21.3 billion, up from $17.7 billion for Google a year earlier. Alphabet as a whole reported revenue of $21.5 billion and $4.9 billion in profit. The firm reported earnings per share of $8.42. That beat analyst expectations of $20.8 billion in revenue on profit of $3.9 billion, or $8.04 per share.
Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s chief financial officer said in a statement that the results “reflect the successful investments we've made over many years in rapidly expanding areas such as mobile and video.” She also said the company continues “to invest responsibly in support of our many compelling opportunities.”
Porat was brought in after Google missed a string of earnings expectations in 2015 and shareholders criticized the company's undisciplined spending. Many analysts credit her with keeping expenses in line, and for giving shareholders more visibility into Google's spending. On an earnings call Thursday, Porat stressed repeatedly that Alphabet believes it can balance fiscal responsibility with investment in innovation.
But some of those innovative opportunities are still not close to paying off. Alphabet’s other bets — a section of the larger parent company that includes Nest and Fiber — saw revenue double to $185 million, but is operating at a larger loss than it did last year. Alphabet reported that other bets had an $859 million operating loss as compared with a $660 million loss at this point last year, when it was not broken out into its own segment.
Astro Teller, the head of the company’s moonshot X Lab, wrote a long essay recently outlining how the company looks at its other bets and decides which products to back and which products to kill.
“I believe it’s possible to manage long-term bets responsibly by creating a culture where people cheerfully run at the hardest things first, kill their work, and head back to the drawing board to find the next great idea,” he said.
Alphabet executives have made clear that they view “other bets," which includes X, as a mixture of a research and development lab and a venture-capital firm. Therefore, the company doesn’t expect everything to pay off in a big way — and isn't bothered that they are, in Porat's words, "pre-revenue."
And with Google at its core, Alphabet seemed to be in good position to expand its main business and pursue its crazier ideas. Google controls the largest section of the digital advertising market, with a roughly 30 percent share, according to the analysis firm eMarketer. Facebook, which also reported better-than-expected earnings this week due strength in advertising, is the second largest.
Yet even with a growing move to smaller less lucrative ads, Google has managed to increase its ad revenue. That’s despite the fact that it continues to get less money per click — down 7 percent from this time last year. Google doesn't break out explicitly how much of its revenue comes from mobile advertising. But Porat reaffirmed the firm's mobile strength on an earnings call with investors.
"Once again, the primary driver was increased use of mobile search by consumers, benefiting from our ongoing efforts to enhance the mobile search experience," she said, adding that desktop and tablet search, YouTube and programmatic advertising was also strong.
The section of Google that includes its Google Play store and Nexus hardware line also saw 33 percent growth, rising to $2.2 billion.