As Google Earnings Go, So Goes the Internet? Um, No.

Published on October 16, 2008
by Kara Swisher

Today, Google, the Internet’s juggernaut in both power and profits, will release its third-quarter earnings results after the market closes.

Investors and Silicon Valley will be closely watching Google’s performance and also be listening carefully to the guidance its executives will be giving, hoping the Web’s most stellar performer of late does not stumble.

If it does, some think it is look-out-below time. And, if it does not, it will presumably be all sunshine and daisies for the sector.

Neither is exactly true.

Because, like a lot of healthy and growing companies in the economy, Google (GOOG) can’t help but get dinged by flying debris of the recent financial tornado and its impact on businesses that rely on advertising.

On the other hand, Google’s ad search business is certainly more recession-proof than others, such as the graphical ad offering that Yahoo (YHOO) depends on, which simply means…its ad search business is more recession-proof.

And, given Google’s dominant market share here, this actually means very little to any other digital player.

Still, it will be pins and needles before the third-quarter earnings announcement at 1:30 p.m., Pacific time. The consensus is that Google will have revenues of $4.76 billion for the period and $4.81 in earnings per share.

BoomTown is guessing Google is not likely to disappoint. And, of course, in their ever-quirky way, its leadership troika are certain to make all the right noises about the troubled economy.

Most think they will also outline some sensible cost cuts, which is a good idea, as the peppily profligate search giant has a lot of fat to trim.

That shiatsu-massages-and-lattes-for-all attitude is one of the many reasons (along with international concerns) that worries have mounted about Google’s ability to keep up its blazing past performance and why analysts have slashed forecasts for the company.

That, combined with the Wall Street meltdown, has caused once-soaring shares at Google to plummet, with its stock price cut neatly in half from a year ago.

Google’s stock closed yesterday at $339.17, down $23.54 or 6.5 percent.

“These are turbulent times for which no one has the perfect playbook,” said eBay (EBAY) CEO John Donahoe, after the auction giant predicted in its earnings call that it would be adversely impacted going forward. “There is a high degree of economic uncertainty and turmoil in the business market and that is impacting consumer spending.”

That’s stating the obvious.

Still, the same is true for Google and every other Web company.

Because, even if it’s chin-up for Google tomorrow–no one is going to escape the rocky journey to recovery.

And, if Google chokes a bit? Well, that’s okay too.

In fact, unless you actually think that tech is finished–which would make you not so smart–a hiccup seems entirely appropriate.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

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