Search engine and advertising giant Google has announced a massive 69 per cent growth in profit year on year, reporting first-quarter earnings of $1bn ($3.18 a share). Revenue gains were almost as impressive, jumping 63 per cent to a company high of $3.66bn - some $40 million higher than predicted by analysts.

Net income was almost half that at $592.3m - or $1.95 a share - during the same period last year, while revenue came in around the $2.25bn mark.

CEO Eric Schmidt responded enthusiastically to the results, saying he was "ecstatic" with the growth. It's not very surprising really - Google's market cap is a whopping $147 billion, dwarfing rival technology giants like IBM and Intel.

The results simply emphasis the widening gulf between Google and closest rival Yahoo. According to market research firm ComScore , Google handled some 48 per cent of search enquiries in the US, up from 42 per cent in the previous year, while Yahoo remained static at 28 per cent.