Google Opens Up About Its Non-Search Businesses

During its quarterly earnings call this afternoon, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) executives tried to prove to analysts that the company is not overly dependent on online search, laying out for the first time a few metrics about its “emerging” businesses. Executives said that mobile ad sales were now at a $1 billion “annualized run rate,” while display ad sales — a category that includes both its ad exchange and YouTube businesses — are now at $2.5 billion run rate. They also said that the company is running ads against two billion views on YouTube each week, a figure that is up 50 percent from a year ago.

Google still isn’t saying how much profit it is generating from any of these businesses. For nearly a year, analysts have asked the company to disclose whether YouTube is in the black, but during the call Google executives once again declined to say whether that site was making money during the call. In fact, executives said that they might not even repeat their disclosure of the mobile and display ad sales figures, saying they were “merely sharing them … as a proof point.”

Some other highlights:

Hiring: Google added nearly 1,200 employees during the quarter, including 300 through acquisitions, and executives said the company would continue to hire aggressively. “The difference between winners and losers in our industry will be determined by who we can attract and retain,” CFO Patrick Pichette said.

Google Instant: During the quarter, Google introduced an update to its search engine, called Google Instant, which shows search results as a user types. Executives said that, contrary to some speculation, the impact of that change had been minimal on revenue. But they said that consumers liked it and that the feature will be coming to mobile phones by the end of the year.

Social: Asked about the company’s plans for social, CEO Eric Schmidt said that “over time we will add additional social” features to the company’s search engine. “We want to make search more personal,” he said. “We are quite convinced that creates better search results.”

Mobile search: Analysts once again asked whether mobile searches were “cannibalizing” the company’s online search business, and executives once again responded that they were not.

“The presumption is that it’s a zero sum game,” Schmidt said. “What’s really happening is that all of the companies that are … driving the web and web applications are doing really well.” SVP Jonathan Rosenberg said both mobile and online search volume were increasing.