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Google Expects Hardware To Do More In Q4

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, hailed a hardware push made during the third quarter, noting it represented the culmination of efforts by several departments, though the move offered little immediate aid to the earnings of parent Alphabet during the period.

In an earnings call, the executive highlighted a push of Made by Google hardware, combining its work in software, hardware and AI. “Our third generation is our best yet”, he said, referring to the Pixel 3 smartphone range, Google Home Hub and Pixel Slate tablet.

Pichai noted Google Assistant, Android and Chrome all contributed to “real momentum” on its hardware efforts. Hammering the point home, the CEO said daily active user numbers on its Google Home kit had grown by more than five-times in the year to end-September.

By the close of the quarter, Google Assistant could comprehend 20 languages spanning 76 countries and could “now understand and speak more than one language at a time.” The period also saw the launch of “our first set of smart displays with Lenovo and JBL, as well as our own Google Home Hub”, the company’s first smart speaker with a screen.

Pichai cited an app-related partnership with Unity Technologies as a key win, noting it “gives our advertisers access to one of the largest global networks of mobile gaming titles across 1.5 billion devices”.

Figures
However, the CEO’s enthusiasm around hardware was not reflected in earnings: CFO Ruth Porat said the sector was “only a modest contributor during the quarter”, with the majority of launches setting the company up for the key holiday selling period during Q4.

“In terms of dollar growth, results were led again by mobile search, with a strong contribution from YouTube, followed by desktop search,” Porat explained.

Foreign exchange headwinds contrasted with tailwinds which boosted figures over the first half of 2019, resulting in a “negative currency impact year-over-year of $385 million” for Google parent Alphabet, though this was mitigated to the tune of $80 million by a hedging programme.

Alphabet’s net income fell from $9.19 billion in Q3 2018 to $7.07 billion in the recent period, though revenue increased from $33.7 billion to $40.5 billion.

Nine month figures were brighter, with net income of $23.7 billion up from $21.8 billion in Q3 2018, and revenue of $115.8 billion compared with $97.5 billion. Mobile World Live

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