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Device operating systems

Google Goes Upwardly Mobile

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) remains committed to its core search business, but its mobile ambitions -- that billion-dollar pile it apparently "tripped into" -- is growing nicely. "We already announced that [mobile] was a billion-dollar run-rate business," Google SVP and CFO Patrick Pichette said Thursday on its first-quarter earnings call. "And we tripped into it. ... We tripped into a billion dollars. That gives you a sense of the momentum." Google had some numbers to back up its momentum in mobile, which it still considers a new industry for the company. Thanks in large part to Android, search on mobile devices has increased by more than 500 percent in the past two years, Jeff Huber, Google's SVP of commercial and local, said.

Android Market is also taking off with, 350,000 Android device activations per day and over 3 billion apps installed. Huber said Market has benefited from its online presence and the addition of in-app billing. (See In-App Billing Makes Android More Appealing.)

SVP of Advertising Susan Wojcicki noted that for mobile ads, AdMob Inc. has more than 150 million iOS and Android devices receiving ads every month, up 50 percent over the last four months. And, many advertisers are running mobile-only campaigns and customizing them to the handsets with location and click-to-call, a feature that over half a million advertisers are using.

The numbers
For the first quarter, the search giant reported revenues of $8.6 billion, a 27 percent increase year-on-year and 2 percent over the previous quarter. Pichette noted that this growth factors in the Nexus S and negative impacts from the earthquake in Japan. (See Apps Watch: Using Mobile to Connect to Japan and Google Tries Unlocked Again With Nexus S.)

Google also added 1,900 employees in the first quarter and plans to hire another 4,000 in 2011, marking what Huber said will be the biggest hiring year in Google's history. Spending on hiring and the fact that everyone in Google got a 10 percent salary increase, however, caused Google's earnings to come in below Wall Street estimates.

Google's missing Page
Rather than take charge, newly appointed Google CEO Larry Page jumped on Google's first-quarter earnings call for only a few minutes to tell investors that all the management changes went down as planned in the period and to re-thank Chief of Product Development Jonathan Rosenberg, who resigned the same day Page was named CEO. (See Google Does the Executive Shuffle and Making Google Less Creepy.)

When asked how the executive change-up has affected business, CFO Pichette only reiterated that it's business as usual.

"In short, the company’s position has not changed," Pichette said. "Google is a technology company focused on users and looking for products that can affect billions of people."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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