Google points to Nest, other acquisitions as hurting first quarter earnings

Google will be fine

Don't worry, guys. Google isn't going hungry tonight.

But it's first quarter earnings weren't quite up to snuff as far as Wall Street was concerned as the search giant only pulled in $12.19 billion (about £7.2b, AU$12.9b) of net revenue, missing investor expectations of $12.3 billion (about £7.3b, AU$13.1b).

Earnings per share also failed to meet an anticipated $6.33 (about £3.77, AU$6.75) per share, instead totaling just $6.27 (about £3.73, AU$6.68) per share.

Despite the disparity between expectations and reality, Google's consolidated revenue of $15.42 billion (about £9.1b, AU$16.4b) was 19% higher than it was in the first quarter of last year. So all in all, not a bad quarter for Mountain View.

You win some, you buy some

The company's biggest earnings centered on digital advertising and Google Play app and media sales. CFO Patrick Pichette also called out Chromecast, but failed to provide sales numbers for the TV dongle.

Money intake from cost-per-click, a constant in Google's financials, dropped 9% from the same quarter last year. However, they were constant from the fourth quarter of 2013. Paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google and sites belonging to its network members, were up 26% from the first quarter of 2013 but were down 1% from the quarter previous.

Google's financial talking heads fielded question after question from analysts and investors during an earnings call about why figures were lower than expected, and Pichette and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora repeatedly stressed that Google was busy on the buying front during Q1.

The company picked up heavyweight Nest and other firms like DeepMind and Boston Dynamics, among various other firms.

The Nest deal cost Google $3.2 billion (about £1.9b, AU$3.4b), and taking on the smart thermostat maker's team also put a dent in Google's wallet. Pichette called out the Nest deal as one of the reason's Google's finances weren't as stellar as most expected.

Google also notably sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo during the quarter, though it retained arguably its most promising assets, including the team behind Advanced Technology and Projects, which is developing its Project Tango and Project Ara smartphones.

To that point, Google's R&D spending hit nearly half a billion dollars in the quarter, accounting for 14% of its total revenue. With ambitions moonshot projects seemingly announced every week, the company seems content to spend its billions on innovation.

Still it may take a while before these outer branches to bear fruit, and, unfortunately for Google, investors are a fidgety bunch. We'll see what tone the next earnings call takes in three months' time.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.