Alphabet (AKA Google) Posts a Much Stronger Quarter

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November 1, 2020 Topic: Economics Region: Americas Blog Brand: Techland Tags: GoogleAlphabetEconomic QuarterProfitCoronavirusSection 230

Alphabet (AKA Google) Posts a Much Stronger Quarter

But difficulties with the coronavirus and political pressure over alleged censorship remains.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, on Thursday released its quarterly earnings, and had a huge third quarter. The company posted revenue of $46.17 billion, compared with analyst expectations of $42.90 billion, per CNBC. 

The $46.17 billion number represented a gain from $40.499 billion in the same quarter last year. And the blowout quarter followed a less-successful one in the second quarter, when Alphabet posted its first-ever quarterly revenue decline. 

“We had a strong quarter, consistent with the broader online environment,” Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet and Google, said in the company’s earnings release. “It’s also a testament to the deep investments we’ve made in AI and other technologies, to deliver services that people turn to for help, in moments big and small.” 

Pichai testified before Congress Wednesday, in part of the Senate Commerce Committee’s marathon hearing into possible reforms of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. 

“Total revenues of $46.2 billion in the third quarter reflect broad based growth led by an increase in advertiser spend in Search and YouTube as well as continued strength in Google Cloud and Play,” said Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet and Google. “We remain focused on making the right investments to support long term sustainable value.”

Google’s Search business—the focal point of a lawsuit brought earlier this month by the Department of Justice—saw an increase in revenues, as did the YouTube ads business and Google Cloud. Both of those segments, per CNBC, also beat analyst estimates for the quarter. 

On the earnings call, per a transcript posted by Alpha Street, the CEO addressed the recent move by the DOJ. 

“We remain committed to investing to build the most helpful, most trusted search experience, just we have for the last 22 years,” he said. “On that note, regarding the DOJ’s lawsuit, we believe that our products are creating significant consumer benefits and we’ll confidently make our case. Our Company’s focus remains on continuing our work to build a search product that people love and value.”

Pichai also announced that the company will begin reporting its Cloud business as a separate segment. Pichai also touted the new Hum to Search sound-finding function, which Google officially announced in mid-October. 

Alphabet addressed its upcoming Search changes on the call. 

“We are also investing to create improved search experiences that provide additional value to news publishers. We recently committed $1 billion in investments that include licensing content from national, regional and local news publishers for Google News Showcase, a new product that features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms,” Pichai said. 

“We have signed partnerships with nearly 200 publications around the world with more to come. We know our success in Search is not guaranteed. We are proud that people choose Google Search not because they have to, but because it’s helpful.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters