Google's investors will be happy with the numbers, even if they scratch their heads over management changes, which saw Eric Schmidt out as CEO and co-founder Larry Page in.
Patrick Pichette, chief financial officer, said the fourth quarter was a phenomenal ending to a very good year. Google's revenue of $8.44 billion for the quarter represented an increase of 26 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. The company's net income in the fourth quarter of 2010 was $2.54 billion, versus $1.97 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter was $7.81 compared to $6.13 in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Schmidt said in a statement, Our strong performance has been driven by a rapidly growing digital economy, continuous product innovation that benefits both users and advertisers, and by the extraordinary momentum of our newer businesses, such as display and mobile. These results give us the optimism and confidence to invest heavily in future growth -- investments that will benefit our users, Google and the wider web.
Google-owned sites represented 67 percent of total revenues. Partner sites generated $2.5 billion through AdSense programs, or 30 percent of the total. Pichette said in 2010, display ads, YouTube, products such as email, documents for businesses and Android were huge hits and helped the company's growth.
The company said for 2011 it is excited about local and commerce. Pichette says one out of five searches is local. Furthermore, it has become easier for Google to know where its users are located and cater to them. He said this strategy will especially work with mobile.