SHARES in Google surged last night after the company reported fourth quarter results that beat expectations.
The technology giant, which has morphed from a pure internet search company to a business now with a range of products from laptops to smartphones, said quarterly revenue rose by 36pc year on year to $14.42bn (€10.82bn), while earnings per share hit $10.65.
That was well ahead of market expectations, which were closer to $10.40 a share.
The results are among the most closely watched on Wall Street, with Google seen as a barometer of the wider technology sector. When Google missed market forecasts in the third quarter of 2012, the wider industry suffered a brief sell-off.
Cost per click (CPC), a key measure of how much money Google makes out of each one of its users, fell 6pc year on year. Crucially however, CPC rose between October and December. That was the first time in at least a year that it moved up.
Company chief executive Larry Page (above) said Google ended the year with a "strong" quarter. "We hit $50bn in annual revenues for the first time – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half.
"In today's multi-screen world, we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit. It's an incredibly exciting time to be at Google," he claimed.
The company said revenue from outside the United States, much of which is known to be funnelled through its Dublin office, totalled $6.9bn.
Google employs more than 2,500 people at its European HQ in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock, and sends much of its non-US turnover through Ireland in a legal tax avoidance scheme known as the 'Double Irish'. The scheme limits Google's tax liability on international earnings.
As expected, advertising made up close to 90pc of the company's sales during the year.
While the company did not break out what it was earning from its Android smartphone and tablet operating system, revenues fell quarter on quarter at Motorola, the mobile phone business it bought last year.
The results are a far cry from the problems the company face at the end of the third quarter of 2012, when its results were accidentally released before the close of US markets.
That earnings miss, which shocked analysts, led to a sharp sell-off and trading in the company had to be suspended for a time.
Shares in Google traded up 3pc in after hours trading, after falling 0.2pc during yesterday's trading session.