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Google 2Q Earnings More Than Double

Google's second-quarter profit more than doubled, maintaining the Internet search leader's penchant for topping analysts' high expectations and further underscoring the advantage the company has built over its chief rivals.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said Thursday that it earned $721.1 million, or $2.33 per share, during the three months ended in June. That compared with net income of $342.8 million, or $1.19 per share, at the same time last year.

Excluding expenses for employee stock compensation and several other one-time items, Google said it would have earned $2.49 per share _ soaring past the average estimate of $2.22 per share among 32 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

It marks the seventh time in eight quarter as a public company that Google has surprised Wall Street with higher-than-expected earnings.

Revenue for the period totaled $2.46 billion, a 77 percent increase from $1.38 billion a year ago.

Google's revenue fell to $1.67 billion after subtracting commissions paid to its partners in the Internet's largest advertising network. That figure also topped the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Financial.

The results came out after the stock market closed Thursday. Google Inc.'s shares fell $11.88 to close at $387.12 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, then regained $5.42, or 1.4 percent, in extended trading.

Google's showing contrasted sharply with the second-quarter performance of Yahoo Inc., which disappointed investors earlier this week by merely matching Wall Street's consensus estimate and then exacerbated the letdown by postponing a key piece of advertising technology aimed at boosting its revenue.

Meanwhile, Google seems determined on widening its already formidable lead in Internet search _ a field that it has dominated so thoroughly in recent years that the company's name has become accepted as an English verb for looking things up.

"Our strong performance results from our clear focus on increasing the quality of user experience, particularly in search and ads," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said.

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