Google used its Q3 earnings last night to highlight the “huge positive revenue impact” that the firm’s mobile efforts are now having.
CEO Larry Page said that Google’s ad revenues via mobile devices had grown by two-and-half times over the last year and was on track to hit US$2.5 billion per annum. This is up from the US$1 billion figure Google cited a year ago, which was the first time it had attributed a dollar value to its mobile business.
Page hailed the “mind-boggling” growth of Android, noting that 190 million devices had now been activated globally, and was upbeat on the platform’s future roadmap. “I'm super excited about the soon-to-be released new version of Android called Ice Cream Sandwich,” he said. “You won't believe what we have managed to get done in this release.”
"Our revenue growth continues to accelerate even in mobile, driven primarily by mobile search,” said Nikesh Arora, Google's chief business officer. “This growth obviously is driven both by the underlying expansion of Android devices and tablets."
Nevertheless, mobile is still a single-digit contributor to the search giant’s revenue. In Q3, Google reported that total revenues grew by a third year-on-year to US$9.7 billion, while net profit was up by a quarter to US$2.7 billion. The results were above most analysts’ expectations, which had been worried about the impact of a hiring spree by the firm over the summer and the impact of the financial situation on ad spending.
Google also used its earnings to announce that its Google+ social network – the firm’s effort to topple the dominance of Facebook and Twitter – had passed 40 million users, though there was no indication of how many of these users were 'active.'
"People are flocking into Google+ at an incredible rate and we're just getting started,” said Page. “The engagement we're seeing is phenomenal too. Over 3.4 billion photos have already been uploaded.”
On the subject of litigation against vendors using Android, Page said that the there was “absolutely no signs” that such moves were dampening enthusiasm among its partners. But he appeared to dodge a question on whether the firm would subsidise the fees Android vendors are being required to pay to the likes of Microsoft – in order to protect the Android ecosystem. “We haven't seen the details of those… agreements, and I suspect that our partners are making good deals for themselves there,” he noted.
Page was also tight-lipped on future plans for Motorola Mobility, which Google is in the process of acquiring. “I think it would be premature for us to comment about anything we might do with regards to that,” he said.