Google mobile business booming, on track for $8B this year

That's a huge jump from a similar $2.5 billion figure Google CEO Larry Page reported this time last year, though the two numbers aren't strictly comparable.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Google Play is helping boost Google's mobile run rate.
There's at least one good fact coming from Google's results today.

Google Chief Executive Larry Page, speaking with a hoarse voice during a conference call with analysts, said the company is on track to generate over $8 billion from its mobile business this year. That's a huge increase from the prior annual run rate of $2.5 billion.

But that number is a little misleading. Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said the figure now includes gross revenue from media sold via the Google Play store and money made from app sales. Last year's figure included mobile ads only. That makes it pretty hard to compare the two.

Pichette declined to detail how much of the $8 billion is mobile ad revenue but said ads are the "vast majority."

"We don't break down each of the categories," he said. But "of the three categories we gave you, ads continues to be the bulk of it, the vast majority of it."

Mobile advertising has been a big concern for investors. Google typically makes less money for clicks through mobile devices than it does from traditional Web browsers. As more users move to smartphones and tablets, that threatens Google's growth rates. But mobile is also a big focus for Google with its Android operating system and its Play store.

Until recently, mobile was a relatively small percentage of spending for advertisers, Page said. That's no longer the case.

Page also addressed the issue of buying and managing online ad campaigns differently across devices. He said that the company was "working very hard to simplify the campaign experience," making the process of buying ads across mobile and Web devices more dynamic and "less arduous work for advertisers and agencies."

Google earlier today accidentally leaked its third-quarter earnings report. The lackluster numbers sent the company's stock tumbling as investors worried about slowing growth. Among the many concerns was weaker-than-expected results in Google's core business and its Motorola operations.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. PT with additional details about what's factored into the run rate and again at 2:10, 2:20, and 2:45 p.m. PT with more details.