San Francisco: Google has reported that its profit climbed and its annual revenue hit an unprecedented high last year as it evolved to stay in tune with people using smartphones and tablets.
"We ended 2012 with a strong quarter," said Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page. "We hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year; not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half."
The fourth quarter profit was up 6.7 per cent from a year earlier at $2.89 billion, and for the full year Google's earnings grew 10 per cent to $10.74 billion. Revenue in the quarter that ended December 31 was up 36 per cent from the same period a year earlier at $14.4 billion.
For the year, revenues grew to $50.2 billion. Google shares jumped more than five per cent to $738.20 in after-market trading that followed release of the earnings figures, which topped most Wall Street estimates. Google dominates the US online advertising market, which grew 14.9 per cent to $10.58 billion in the final three months of last year, according to eMarketer.
The market tracker estimated that Google takes in more than 41 per cent of digital ad revenue in the United States and 'holds more share than any other company' when it comes to online, display and mobile advertising.
In a conference call with financial analysts, Google executives stressed how the company is connecting with people on smartphones and tablets, and cautioned that it would take time to get freshly acquired Motorola Mobility on course. Page said he was excited about progress Google has made in handling search queries spoken to mobile devices and described the online Play shop for music, books, applications and other digital content as 'on fire'.
Google's mapping service programme tailored for Apple gadgets running on the iOS platform have been a hit, Page said, adding that its search and email programs are also popular on Apple devices. "We now live in a multi-screen world; in fact, we feel naked without our smartphones," Page said.
"Devices have been one of our biggest bets in the last few years, along with the software that goes with these devices." In an indirect shot at the Apple iPad Mini launched late last year, Page said Google's Nexus 7 "continues to define the seven-inch tablet category."