Google announces first ever $50bn year

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Internet giant Google has announced it generated £9bn in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012: with the firm hitting $50bn (£31bn) in annual revenue for the first time in its history.

The company's figures smashed analysts' expectations, and were up 36% on last year.

The fourth quarter profit at the search engine giant was up 6.7% from a year earlier at £1.8bn, and, for the full year, it grew ten per cent to £6.8bn.

Google co-founder and chief executive, Larry Page, said the firm had ended last year with a strong quarter.

He added that the firm had successfully reached the $5obn mark in revenues for the first time, a result he addressed as, "not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half."

Research from eMarketer suggests that the online advertising market as a whole grew 14.9%, to $10.58bn in the final quarter of last year.

Google was particular dominant in this regard, with eMarketer suggesting that the Internet search giant now accounted for 41% of digital revenue in the US.

Despite the figures however, Google found itself losing some revenue due to a shift in Internet marketing strategies, with mobile becoming more and more prominent: the firm's ad rates on mobile are typically lower than those on its standard website.

Although paid clicks increased almost 25% year on year, cost-per-click prices were down six per cent on those a year ago, the fifth quarter in a row to witness such a decline. Despite that slump, they were still up two per cent on the third-quarter of 2012.

This is partly to do with the launch of a paid-for model in Google Shopping in the US - with new product listing ads making up around 15% of paid search clicks. The same model is due to start phasing into UK searches in February, with Google planning to make its Shopping search results entirely paid-for by advertisers in June.

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