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What Google's CEO said will be one of the company's biggest investments going forward

Alphabet is stepping up its investment in Google Cloud, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on the company's quarterly earnings conference call.

"As we go into 2017, I expect cloud to be one of our largest areas of investment and headcount growth," said Pichai.

Google Cloud encompasses the company's portfolio of products, technologies and services in the cloud. This includes cloud hosting facilities, data analytics tools and machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. The company recently re-branded the division to better compete with cloud leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Alphabet has been building partnerships to reach more cloud customers and offer them a variety of options, like combining on premise storage with cloud-based storage, said Pichai. Customers don't want to be locked into any specific cloud platform and the company is pursuing a hybrid strategy, he said.

"Scaling up through partnerships is a big area focus and investment for us," he said.

The company is hiring across sales, engineering and marketing and building a large cloud machine learning group to make machine learning available to all of Google's cloud customers, said Pichai.

Alphabet reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat expectations on Monday. Shares popped up 2 percent to $823 in after hours trading, but were last seen flat.

The company posted third-quarter earnings per share of $9.06 on revenue of $22.45 billion. The technology giant had been expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of $8.63 a share on revenue of $22.05 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

Alphabet is second only to Apple as the world's most valuable company.

Here are all the numbers on Alphabet's earnings

CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan and Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

email: tech@cnbc.com