Google Comes Up Short In Q4 Earnings

Google has just released its Q4 2011 results, and they didn’t live up to Wall Street’s expectations.

Wall Street’s consensus for the quarter was $10.49 in non-GAAP earnings per share and $8.40 billion in revenue. Google missed on both counts, with EPS of $9.50 and net revenue of $8.13 billion.

Google shares are down around 10% in after-hours trading.

It’s not all bad news for the company. The release points out that Google surpassed $10 billion in revenue for the first time in the company’s history (before deducting traffic acquisition costs). It is also announcing that it has 90 million users on Google+ at this point, which is more than double what Page announced last quarter (I’m more curious to know how many of those users are still engaged with the social network).

Google’s headcount grew from 31,353 last quarter to 32,467 — an increase of 1,114.

There will be an earnings conference call with Google execs beginning at 4:30 PM EST; stay tuned for more posts with our coverage of any further details revealed by Larry Page and company.

From the release (you can find a full slide deck, including charts, embedded below):

Google reported revenues of $10.58 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, an increase of 25% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Google reports its revenues, consistent with GAAP, on a gross basis without deducting traffic acquisition costs (TAC). In the fourth quarter of 2011, TAC totaled $2.45 billion, or 24% of advertising revenues.

Google reports operating income, operating margin, net income, and earnings per share (EPS) on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. The non-GAAP measures, as well as free cash flow, an alternative non-GAAP measure of liquidity, are described below and are reconciled to the corresponding GAAP measures at the end of this release.