Google experienced an 18 per cent year-on-year rise in sales during the last three months of 2008, according to new figures from the search engine.

Revenues reached a total $5.70 billion (£4.17 billion) during period, rising three per cent compared with the previous quarter.

Costs associated with investments in AOL and Clearwire contributed to a drop in net income, however, with profits falling from $1.29 billion in the last three months of 2007 to $382 million in 2008.

Meanwhile, impressions from pay per click services rose by 18 per cent year-on-year, while an increasing proportion of revenues were generated outside of the US – the UK accounted for 12 per cent of sales alone.

Google put in a good performance in the fourth quarter despite the current financial conditions, said chief executive Eric Schmidt.

"It’s unclear how long the global downturn will last, but our focus remains on the long-term and we’ll continue to invest in Google’s core search and ads business as well as in strategic growth areas such as display, mobile and enterprise," he commented.

Microsoft announced a sales increase of two per cent for the same period and 5,000 job cuts earlier this week.

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