Google Earnings show lowest quarter of 2011

The fourth quarter earnings for the 2011 season for Google have been reported this week, results showing up as a slightly less impressive jump than analysts suspected. Google's fourth quarter earnings rose by 6.3%, but as this did end up being the slowest revenue increase of all four quarters of 2011, estimates jumped the gun – meanwhile shares in Google today fell 9.7% amid news in after-hours trading to $577.92. Perhaps its time to buy then, said those who wished they'd invested in Google when they had the chance all those years ago, as a 34% increase was seen over last year's Google ad clicks overall, this being also a 17% increase over the 3rd quarter of 2011.

Costs rose a mighty 30% this fourth quarter of last year, while services outside Google's search service have been doing quite well – 90 million users for Google+, for example, at the end of 2011, where just this past October there were merely 40 million. Google's fourth-quarter profit ended up being up at $2.71 billion, that being $8.22 a share, while a year ago at the same quarter they were at $2.54 billion or $7.81 a share.

Excluding all stock-compensation costs, Google's profit rose to $9.50 from $8.75 a share, and overall revenue increased 25% to $10.58 billion. For those of you at home, all of this essentially means that while Google is said here to be not doing as well as expected, they're still doing pretty darn good. Traffic acquisition costs made up 24% of the total advertising revenue for the quarter, and after all costs, total revenue rose 28% to $8.13 billion. After deducting traffic-acquisition costs, the folks at Thompson Rueters, for example, expected earnings of $10.49 per share with a total revenue of $8.41 billion. So not so bad by a normal person's standards, big money for a big company.