Google's revenue rises 31 percent, nudged by advertising gains

The results mark 'a very strong start to 2013,' CEO Larry Page said

Google's first-quarter revenue rose by 31 percent to about $14 billion, driven by strong gains within the company's advertising business.

Total sales at the company were US$13.97 billion for the quarter, which ended March 31, representing "a very strong start to 2013," Google CEO Larry Page noted in the company's earnings announcement. The revenue excludes the commissions and fees that Google pays to other sites that run its ads. Taking those into account, revenue for the quarter was $11.01 billion.

"We are working hard and investing in our products that aim to improve billions of people's lives around the world," Page said.

Google's net income was $3.35 billion, or $9.94 a share, compared to $2.89 billion, or $8.75 a share, in the first quarter a year earlier, the company said.

Excluding one-time charges, earnings per share were $11.58, higher than analysts' expectations of $10.69, as polled by Thomson Reuters.

Google continued to see healthy gains in its advertising business. Paid clicks, or the clicks on search ads that advertisers pay for, increased by 20 percent over 2012's first quarter.

However, the cost of paid clicks, or the money Google charges when someone clicks on an ad, fell by approximately 4 percent compared to last year. Still, that decline represents a slight leveling-off from the 6 percent drop Google reported during its last earnings call in January.

Google-owned sites generated 67 percent of the company's total revenue in the quarter, at $8.64 billion, Google reported, representing an 18 percent increase. Partner sites contributed revenue of $3.26 billion, or 25 percent of total Google sales. "Other" revenues from Google were $1.05 billion, representing a 150 percent increase, the company said.

Google's stock was trading at $765.91 following the market's close on Thursday, down roughly 2 percent from Wednesday's closing price of $782.56.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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