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Google takes hit on slower-than-expected growth

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Google on Thursday reported that its profit jumped in the recently ended quarter, but the leap fell short of market expectations.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Google on Thursday reported that its profit jumped in the recently ended quarter, but the leap fell short of market expectations.

The Internet colossus reported net profit up 41 per cent year-over-year at US$4.76 billion (S$6.44 billion) in the final three months of 2014. The profit translates to US$6.88 per share, below the consensus forecast of US$7.11 per share.

Revenues were up 15 per cent in the quarter to US$18.1 billion, also slower that anticipated as Google saw slowdowns in some of its online advertising metrics such as costs per click.

Google shares fell immediately following the results in after-hours trade, but later recouped the losses and traded up 0.3 per cent.

Some analysts pointed out that Google results were dented by a strong dollar, reducing the value of income earned outside the United States.

Even though Google is the leader in online advertising and search, it faces increased competition and has been diversifying in services and investing in projects such as Google Glass and self-driving cars.

"There are significant headwinds coming up for Google: despite its efforts to shore up its control of Android, it's arguably in greater danger than ever of losing control over this core platform," said Jan Dawson at Jackdaw Research.

"Internet growth is slowing worldwide, and the new users who come online will have and command far less spending power, while gravitating towards local alternatives and apps rather than web models in their usage. Google really doesn't seem to have an answer for any of these."

Google said this month it was halting sales of its Internet-linked eyewear Glass but insisted the technology would live on in a future consumer product.

Instead of being part of the Google X lab working on innovations such as self-driving cars, the Glass team will become a separate unit answering to Tony Fadell, co-founder of Nest.

Google bought the smart thermostat maker early last year in a multibillion-dollar deal and brought the former Apple executive on board in the process.

AFP