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Alphabet's ads rake in billions, but its 'other bets' are growing

It's happening, but very slowly.
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AP Photo/Saurabh Das

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Google's parent company Alphabet saw its stock price hit an all-time high last week, and the financial good times continue to roll in the company's newly released quarterly earnings. Over the past three months, the companies under Alphabet's purview raked in a total of $27.8 billion in revenue (up a healthy 24 percent since last year) and reported $6.7 billion in net income. That surge in revenue is thanks to a big lift in Google's advertising business, but some other (arguably more fascinating) parts of the Alphabet megastructure are continuing to grow, too.

Just look at Alphabet's "other bets" -- the category that encompasses wild-eyed Google offshoots like Nest, X, Calico and Verily -- made $105 million more than it did last year. The total works out to $302 million, the most this category has made since Google's companies were rolled up into the Alphabehemoth. It's safe to assume that Nest once again accounted for most of that revenue since it's been steadily rolling out new consumer-facing products and updating old ones, but Google Fiber clearly pitched in and Verily (Alphabet's life sciences business) is also known to be profitable.

Tackling big-picture problems like how to build a car that drives itself how to extend human life is a costly endeavor, so it's no surprise the "other bets" category ultimately lost $812 million this quarter. Still, it's not losing as much money as before, and Alphabet has the resources to keep investing for the long haul.

Meanwhile, Alphabet unimaginatively refers to as "Google other revenues." That's the bucket revenues from Google's cloud business and hardware sales go, and it has swelled nearly a billion dollars since this time in 2016. Unfortunately, Alphabet doesn't break out numbers for this category, so it's tough to say if the growth is thanks to increased demand for its cloud services, or if people really bought into the #MadeByGoogle marketing blitz. Honestly, we're really looking to Alphabet's next quarter -- a big bump could mean people are rapidly adopting Google's updated Pixel smartphones or its Home speakers. Meanwhile, YouTube -- which was cited as a major factor in Google's revenue -- has seen some big upticks in use. Forget phones and PCs, YouTube currently sees over 100 million hours of use on devices in the living room.

Alphabet's customary earnings call begins at 5PM Eastern -- we'll update this story with any new insights as they're discussed.

In this article: business, gear, google
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