Google quarterly profit edges up to on revenue surge

NEW YORK (AFP) - Google said Thursday first-quarter profit edged higher from a year ago as the Internet giant reported a healthy rise in advertising revenues.

Net profit rose 4 per cent from a year earlier to US$3.59 billion (S$4.83 billion), while revenue surged 12 per cent to US$17.3 billion, led by gains from online advertising.

Like other global firms, Google saw its results hit by the strong dollar.

Chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said that on a constant-currency basis, revenue grew 17 per cent from a year ago.

"We continue to see great momentum in our mobile advertising business and opportunities with brand advertisers," he said in the earnings statement.

Advertising made up the bulk of Google revenues, and receipts from its own sites and those of its partners rose more than 10 per cent from a year earlier.

The results nonetheless were short of most Wall Street forecasts, and underscored competition with Facebook, which this week reported a 46 per cent jump in ad revenues.

Google shares still managed to trade higher by 2 per cent in after-hours trading to US$558.06.

The earnings report comes with Google facing a formal antitrust challenge from the European Union, which alleges it abused its dominance in search to promote its own services.

The EU is also investigating Google's dominance of the global mobile phone system with its Android platform. Google has maintained that it does not stifle competition.

The results underscore Google's reliance on advertising revenues despite a range of projects such as self-driving cars, Internet balloons and other services such as local Internet delivery and a new mobile carrier business.