Google Inc, owner of the world's busiest internet search engine, announced a near tripling of profit for the fourth quarter over the same period last year, thanks to more foreign advertising and overall increased use.
Net income rose to $1.03 billion from $372.2 million, Google said in a statement Wednesday. Sales, excluding the revenue passed on to partners, rose to $2.23 billion.
International sales were 44 per cent of revenue, compared with 38 percent last year. Google controls more than 70 per cent of the search market in France, Germany and Britain, according to ComScore Networks Inc, quoted by Bloomberg financial news service.
In the US, Google claimed 47 per cent of US searches, up from 40 percent in fourth quarter 2005, outstripping its nearest rivals. Yahoo's share fell to 28 percent from 29 per cent and Microsoft Corp fell to 11 per cent from 14 percent.
For all of 2006, Google doubled profits to $3.1 billion from $1.5 billion in 2005.
Despite the strong reports, Google shares fell on Wall Street because analysts had expected even more.
"This is a classic high expectations, highly anticipated earnings with a whisper number above expectations," Timothy Ghriskey of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York, was quoted as saying.
"Revenues were in line, and that may be a cause for some traders to sell," he added.