Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), the No. 1 search engine, reported first-quarter results Thursday that sailed past estimates on higher-than-expected revenue. The company also announced a two-for-one stock split.
Google said first-quarter operating income was $10.08 a share, compared with analysts' estimates of $9.64. Net income was $8.75 a share, well ahead of the predicted $8.09 to $8.13.
Revenue jumped 24 percent to $10.65 billion from last year's $8.58 billion. Paid clicks rose 39 percent and the cost per click fell 6 percent over the year-earlier period.
Google had another great quarter, said CEO Larry Page, who briefed investors late Thursday.
A year ago, Google reported adjusted net income of $8.08 a share on revenue of $8.58 billion, before special items including a one-time charge to settle a case with the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as charges for ad commissions that chopped revenue to $6.54 billion.
With more than 900 million unique monthly visitors in March -- five times greater than Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Bing and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) combined, estimates eBusiness Knowledgebase -- Google enjoys enormous market power and advertising strength.
To battle Facebook, which reported 845 million members in its initial public offering filings, Google launched Google + last year nine months ago and reported collecting 90 million members. It didn't report the latest number in its release but Page said it had topped 170 million.
Page didn't say when the company expects to close its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings (NYSE: MMI) to get into the smartphone sector equipment business. Approvals have been received from all regulators except those in China.
Google reported cash and investments of $49.3 billion, compared with $44.6 billion in the fourth quarter. In the technology sector, only Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Microsoft have more. During the call, Page deflected questions about dividends or payouts by saying that continued product development was costly and yielding results.
Based in Mountain View, Calif., Google completed its IPO on Aug. 19, 2004, selling shares priced at $85. In Thursday trading, they closed at $651.01, up $15.05, or 2.4 percent.
For 2012, Google shares have been flat, but they've gained 14 percent over the past year.