Google exceeds expectations in Q4

Google Inc. beat Wall Street's expectations for its fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2006, as the company continues on a tear, selling search engine advertising much faster than its biggest rivals and than the industry average.

Google generated revenue of US$3.21 billion, an increase of 67 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2005. Subtracting the commissions it pays to its advertising partners, revenue came in at $2.23 billion, topping the consensus expectation of $2.195 billion from analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Net income was $1.03 billion, or $3.29 per share, compared with $372.2 million, or $1.22 per share, in 2005's fourth quarter. On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain items, net income was $997 million, or $3.18 per share, topping analysts' expectation of $2.92 per share.

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