Google grows revenue 23% in Q1, beats expectations

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Google grew its revenue and profit in its first fiscal quarter, exceeding Wall Street expectations and prompting the Internet company to express a commitment for "heavy investment" in its core and newer businesses.

Google's revenue hit $6.77 billion in the quarter, ended March 31, 2010, up 23% compared to the first quarter of 2009. Subtracting commissions and fees paid to its advertising network and other partners, revenue was $5.06 billion.

Net income came in at $1.96 billion, or $6.06 per share, compared to $1.42 billion, or $4.49 per share, in the first quarter of 2009, the company said on Thursday.

On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain one-time items, net income in the first quarter was $2.18 billion, or $6.76 per share, compared to $1.64 billion, or $5.16 per share, in the first quarter of 2009.

The consensus estimate from financial analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been for Google to report revenue minus commissions of $4.95 billion and pro forma earnings of $6.60 per share.

Google-owned sites generated 66% of total revenue, while partner sites accounted for 30%. Fifty-three percent of total revenue came from outside of the U.S.

People clicked 15% more times on Google search ads in the first quarter, compared with the same quarter in 2009, while the average fee Google charges advertisers per ad click increased about 7%. Google makes most of its revenue from pay-per-click search ads.

As of March 31, Google had cash, cash equivalents and short-term marketable securities worth $26.5 billion.

Google grew its global staff to 20,621 full-time employees from 19,835 full-time employees during the first quarter.

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