Google profits buoyed by ad revenue

Google sign in front of palm trees Image copyright Getty Images

US technology giant Google reported a 4% increase in profits to $3.59bn (£2.38bn), as strong advertising sales helped boost the firm's bottom line.

Google said advertising sales for the first three months of 2015 were $15.5bn, an 11% increase from the same period a year earlier.

Total revenue also increased by 12% to $17.3bn, but like other US firms, the company was hurt by the strong dollar.

Shares in the firm rose more than 3% in trading after markets had closed.

There had been fears on Wall Street that profits would be weaker due to investment in new businesses and weaker advertising revenue as more people access Google via mobile devices, where advertising rates are lower.

But the fears turned out to be unfounded - a fall in the average price of an advert was offset by an increase in the number of adverts.

"The concern was that the first quarter results could have been much worse," Colin Gillis from BGC Financial said. "There's a certain degree of relief rally happening."

In a statement accompanying the results, chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said the company continued "to see great momentum in our mobile advertising business and opportunities with brand advertisers".

However, Google did suffer from the stronger dollar. Taking out the impact of currency movements, Mr Pichette said revenue grew by 17% in the quarter compared with a year earlier.

The results also showed the firm continued hire new staff at a high rate, with employee numbers up 9,000 over the past year.

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