Google Grows G+ As Earnings Miss

Larry Page has big dreams for Google Plus -- and the search giant is working to make them come true.

Google reported fourth quarter fiscal 2011 earnings on Thursday that missed analyst expectations. Google CEO and Co-founder Larry Page, however, remarked during his company's earnings call the he was 'happy' with the results overall during the quarter.

Google's revenues for the fourth quarter grew to $10.58 billion, which is a 25 percent year-over-year increase. For Google, revenues excluding Traffic Acquisition Costs (TAC) is another key metric and that came in at $8.13 billion, which was a miss from analyst estimates of $8.41 billion.

Net Income was also on the rise at Google, growing to $2.71 billion, up from $2.54 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The reason for the earnings miss was related to a declining average cost-per-click (CPC) number from Google, for ads served on Google and its network partner sites. Google reported that the average cost-per-click, decreased approximately 8 percent over the fourth quarter of 2010.

Google's Larry Page stressed during his company's earning call that Google had a good quarter and is growing new business areas including Google Plus and Android.

"I'm pleased to announce that there are over 90 million Google+ users, well over double what I announced just a quarter ago on our earnings call," Page said. "Engagement on plus is also growing tremendously. I have some amazing data to share there for the first time. Plus users are very engaged with our products, over 60 percent of them engage daily and over 80 percent weekly."

Google+ is Google's effort to take on Facebook in the social networking space. Page noted that Google+ is much more than being about just individual features.

"It's also about building a meaningful relationship with users so that we can dramatically improve the services we offer," Page said. "Understanding who people are, what they care about and the other people that matter to them is crucial if we are to give users what they need, when they need it."

While Google+ is growing at a rapid rate, Google's Android mobile OS is growing even faster. Page noted that 700,000 phones are lit up every day and there are now currently 250 million Android devices in total. Android users are also downloading a lot of apps, 11 billion of them in fact, according to Page.

Though Google is expanding its footprint with Google+ and Android, it was busy during the fourth quarter cancelling a number of initiatives as well.

"Since we last spoke, we've announced that we're closing 12 of our products, including Buzz, Knol and Friend Connect, integrating a whole bunch of others into features of existing products," Page said. "This means that we can double down on the really big bets we had made like Android, Chrome, Gmail, Display and YouTube."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Tags: Google, earnings, google+

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