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Katie Benner

Where's the Payoff for Google Investors?

If you’re an investor who wants to put money into a potentially volatile but fast-growing tech company, then Google is not the stock for you.
The long game.

The long game.

Photographer: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

Google released its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, and those results were pretty lackluster. The company delivered decent, if disappointing, growth. GAAP earnings per share rose to $6.91 in the fourth quarter from $4.95 a year ago, but Wall Street expected $7.11 a share. Revenue rose by 15 percent over the previous year to $18.1 billion.

The company still makes most of its money by selling cheap online ads. Paid clicks in aggregate increased by about 14 percent over the past year. But the average cost per click -- the price advertisers are willing to pay Google to host an ad -- decreased by 3 percent. This slowdown in growth and in pricing is in keeping with the company’s last few quarters. Ultimately, the stock market shrugged.