In a sign that the dominant search engine is recovering its footing, Google parent firm Alphabet reported a net profit of $15 billion in the first quarter of 2023, above market forecasts.
The IT giant is under pressure as a result of a general downturn in advertising spending, overstaffing during the Covid boom, and a significant artificial intelligence threat from Microsoft.
In the same three-month period that the corporation said it would lay off 12,000 employees, or six percent of its workforce, its quarterly sales came in at about $70 billion, a billion more than experts had predicted.
Google reported a $2 billion penalty for anticipated expenditures associated with the layoffs in its financial results.
When Microsoft-backed ChatGPT was introduced and swiftly became viral late last year, Google came under concern. The developer of Windows has included the technology into its office and Bing search engines.
According to media sources, the search giant has since hurriedly released Bard, its own version of the language-based AI, but the rollout was seen as awkward and has thus far disappointed outsiders and business insiders.
With firms concerned that they would lose out to competitors soon, an arms race over AI is anticipated to last for many years and be costly for the internet titans.
Google has restructured its AI business, moving the independently operated Deep Mind subsidiary within the corporation to a division named Google Brain, in an effort to become ready for the coming AI battles.
The many difficulties prompted Google CEO Sundar Pichai to do a rare US media tour in recent weeks to reassure the public that the business continued to be a market leader in everything from search to maps to the development of AI.
Despite these challenges, Pichai's 2022 remuneration package was more than $225 million, according to a regulatory filing that was made public last week.
The third consecutive quarter of decreased advertising income for Google-owned YouTube, down 2.6 percent year over year to $6.7 billion, shows that problems are still there.
The difficulties at YouTube started during the same quarter when Susan Wojcicki, the company's longstanding CEO, retired after nine years in office and was replaced by veteran executive Neal Mohan.
According to Insider Intelligence senior analyst Max Willens, “Google exceeded both revenue and earnings expectations this quarter, but reasons for investor optimism are modest.”
“More significantly, Google's advertising business is under danger. The fact that Search and Other sales increased by less than 2% and YouTube revenues decreased once again reflect the fact that Google's core business is now confronting some of the most difficult obstacles it has ever faced.
Alphabet's share price has increased significantly from the lows before the layoff announcements in January, rising by more than 4% on Tuesday in after-hours trading to $108.4. This is despite the company's deeper-seated issues.
The near $150 observed in 2021, when advertising income was booming, but still far away from this amount.