(GOOG) Google Earnings Hit Another Homer in Third Quarter

Even though analysts seemed a tad wary of Google Inc. (GOOG) 3rd quarter 2011 earnings numbers after the closing bell today, the search engine king stepped up to the plate and took one long. Revenues of $9.72 billion were up 33% year over year and 8% sequentially. Diluted EPS (how Zacks reports Google’s earnings) reached $8.33, easily topping the $7.59 Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The 10% positive earnings surprise bested the average positive surprise over the last 4 quarters of 8.5%, and after-market traders duly took notice. Up 1.91% in regular Thursday trading, GOOG shares have shot up 5.2% in the after-market, which is tempered a bit from the initial reaction to the earnings report.

Kicking off Google’s press release this afternoon was a proud notice that Google+, GOOG’s new social network, has already surpassed 40 million users. Much the way Google has the pluck to have attempted to rival Apple, Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone with its Android operating system for smartphones, so does Google+ appear to be going after market share from soon-to-go-public Facebook, Inc.

This all said, Google does have its work cut out for it. Aside from buying Motorola Mobility (MMI) for $12.5 billion earlier in the 3rd quarter, Google has also increased its workforce by 10% over the past three months. Add some anti-trust hearings with the Federal Trade Commission and some concerns over Android patent wars, and it may be understandable why 4 analysts have actually downwardly revised estimates over the past month for Q4 and the full fiscal year.

Then again, with Google’s growing reputation of continuing to beat market expectations soundly (nearly always — GOOG did post a 1.4% miss in Q1 2011), we’ll see if some of the 21 current earnings estimates on the company are revised upward in the coming days.

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