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Refinitiv also estimated revenue at $38.93 billion compared to the actual $39.27 billion.

"With great opportunities ahead, we continue to make focused investments in the talent and infrastructure needed to bring exceptional products and experiences to our users, advertisers and partners around the globe", said Ruth Porat, Alphabet's CFO, in the same February 4th media release. "By that we mean data centers and machines".

Facebook Inc's better-then-expected fourth-quarter results last week had lifted expectations for Alphabet as they suggested that concerns about a global economic slowdown may be overblown.

The earnings report caps off what was a challenging end to 2018 for the company.

"The company's highest-growth areas (mobile search, programmatic, YouTube, hardware, and cloud) have lower margin profiles than the traditional desktop search business, so we see continued margin degradation for the company as a whole", wrote BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon in a recent note.

As a result, shares fell more than 3 percent in after-hours trading.

Meghan Markle's inspirational banana messages branded 'offensive' by sex worker
The duchess wrote on the bananas, "You are strong" and "You are loved", as well as "You are brave" and "You are special". It turns out she's also coaching dad-to-be Prince Harry , 34, on how to care for the Duchess of Sussex during the labor.

Google and Facebook ads are still more relevant and effective than most other options because the companies collect so much information on activity across the internet and beyond.

Alphabet's report follows a big earnings week from industry heavyweights such as Apple Inc.

Quarterly profit was $8.95 billion, or $12.77 per share, compared with a $3 billion loss a year ago. Advertising directors speaking to CNBC have said some brands were moving 50 to 60 percent of their ad spending from Google to Amazon. Analysts expect sales growth to slow to 19 percent this year from 23 percent in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue from Google's Other division, which includes cloud and hardware, rose 31 percent to $6.49 billion. This year's earnings per share are expected to rise a modest 7% due in part to a comparison with 2018, which had almost $6 a share in equity gains. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said the cloud operation is "getting large wins", and Porat noted that it's one of the fastest-growing businesses at Alphabet. Operating loss for the unit was $1.3 billion, way up from $748 million a year ago. It also includes Verily and Waymo, health and driverless cars, respectively.

How well Google fares with investors will depend on how aggressively the tech giant tackles cloud computing services in the next year, either organically or through acquisitions. The company's share count rose a year ago by 1% to about 701 million. Referred to internally as "Project Dragonfly", Google was said to be preparing to introduce the censored engine in 2019 but later abandoned the plans.