Tech Check

Google Beats, and Big

Sometimes train wrecks happen. And sometimes they happen in front of lots of people. Which is exactly what just happened live on the air when I tried to report Google's earnings as they were released. So before getting to some analysis, let me just extend my apologies - as I just did on the air - to Google and the company's shareholders who simply deserved better. Bad math, quick on the trigger, inaccurate information. They all sound like good excuses, and they're true, but I'm the one reporting on the air, the buck stops with me, and the report was brutal. Don't think for a second that when mistakes like that happen, they come and go without some serious hand-wringing, head-shaking, and sweat.

This one will stick with me for a while.

That aside, the numbers from Google are pretty stellar: the company reported $5.36 a share against the $5.05 consensus.

That news came on better than expected revenue of $4.07 billion, versus the $4.05 anticipated.

Dig a little deeper into the Google report and you'll find that the company beat on just about every major metric: Non-GAAP operating income hit $2.17 billion versus the $2.1 billion expected; Google's Sites Revenue jumped to $1.68 billion versus the $1.59 billion expected; paid click growth increased 15 percent versus the 13 percent expected. Google also increased its cash position to $19.3 billion, up from the $17.8 billion last quarter.

On the hiring line, Google cut another 378 workers last quarter, the second quarter in a row that Google's payroll declined, which is saying something after all those quarters of enormous hiring.

Given the current economic climate, and the low expectations surrounding these shares, it's not a surprise that Google shares are under a little pressure. It'll come down to what the company has to say on the conference call, but don't expect much since Google doesn't offer any meaningful guidance. Still, any signs of optimism about the back half of 2009 would go a long way toward continuing the rally started by Intel earlier this week.

Questions?  Comments?