For instance, Apple said this quarter that Google would become the default web search option for Siri on iOS, and these types of deals have cost Google billions in the past, according to estimates.
"TAC trends will be a focus this quarter, as mobile advertising impression success remains a key going forward for Google in this very competitive land grab market opportunity," wrote Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights, in a research note.
Alphabet's wide reach — from Waymo's self-driving cars to its cloud business to leading an investment round in Lyft — means that the company has plenty of options to make money outside of search.
Alphabet's Google business also contains Google Shopping, Maps, YouTube, Android, Chrome, Google Play and the burgeoning hardware division. Google launched its Pixel 2 phone this fall and has expanded options for Google Home and Google earbuds.
Then there are the "other bets," including Google's start-up investing arms, Verily life sciences research and Nest smart-home devices.
Unfortunately, it's hard for Wall Street to get excited about some of these businesses — Google hasn't revealed YouTube's revenue, a frustrating part of forecasting earnings, wrote Benjamin Schachter, of Macquarie Capital. And the "other bets" are only expected to make $263.4 million during the quarter, according to StreetAccount's estimate, even as Porat has tried to push for more payoff. Amazon's Alexa and a nascent advertising business are also in Google's peripheral.
"[T]he evolving businesses in Cloud, Google Play, hardware, and 'Other Bets' all remain interesting opportunities, but again, based on the track record, we don't see these being meaningful ... in the foreseeable future," Schachter wrote. "We continue to believe that the Cloud business has the biggest potential, but think it is likely going to need a significant acquisition in order for it to become more relevant to the financial model and investors."
Google also faces regulatory pressure on its core business, expected to come to a head next week as tech companies testify on Capitol Hill about the role of Russian political advertising in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, in Europe, Google's Shopping division may have to shift focus to deal with a record-breaking antitrust fine.
Nonetheless, Alphabet should have plenty of money to deal with any missteps. Google will control about 58.8 percent of the search ad market worldwide this year, eMarketer projects.