Google profits jump 30 pct despite worries over online ads

SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, 2008 (AFP) – Google reported Thursday that its profits surged more than 30 percent to 1.31 billion dollars in the first three months of the year, erasing fears of sagging online advertising revenues. Google’s stock leaped more than 17 percent to 526 dollars a share in after-hours trading on the news.

Google reported that overall revenues rose to 5.19 billion dollars in the quarter and profits equalled 4.12 dollars per share, compared to 3.18 dollars per share in the same period last year.

“We are obviously very pleased,” Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said during a conference call with analysts and media.

“It is clear to us we are well-positioned for 2008 and beyond despite the business environment we find ourselves in.”

Revenue from Google’s main cash source, clicks on online ads, rose 20 percent in the quarter, mitigating worries that shifting to displaying fewer, better-targeted ads would hurt the California company.

“Google is a cash machine,” said Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.

“The only thing that could hurt them is if, for whatever reason, the market re-looks at the value placed on eyeballs on the Web and pushes back on pricing, which i