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Google Earnings Rose 42 Percent

Google stunned its critics with a positive earnings report that showed little sign of an advertising decline, despite outside reports to the contrary.

The Internet search engine giant said profits rose 31 percent in the first quarter on 42 percent revenue growth. The company reported revenue of $5.19 billion and profits of $1.3 billion.

“We’re very pleased with the quarter,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on a conference call with analysts. “We’re well-positioned for 2008 and beyond, regardless of the business environment we find ourselves in.”

Google’s paid clicks advertising also grew 20 percent in the first quarter over the same year-ago quarter, and 4 percent over 2007’s fourth quarter.

“Paid click growth is much higher than has been speculated upon,” Schmidt said.

Google also has 59.8 percent market share of Internet searches, to 21.3 percent for rival Yahoo and 9.4 percent for Microsoft, according to ComScore.

Investors were thrilled with Google’s results, pushing Google’s stock up 17 percent in after-hours trading to $525.96.

Greg Sterling, an analyst with Sterling Market Intelligence, says Google’s results shows that investors’ fears “were somewhat unfounded. Google’s growth was not as spectacular as it would have been in a spectacular economy, but it’s still the biggest quarter they’ve ever had.”