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Alphabet revenue rises 15% to $80.5 billion| GuyWhoKnowsThings

On Thursday, Google parent Alphabet reported strong revenue growth in its latest quarter for its search engine and video platform, YouTube, as its leading position in the online advertising market continued to reap rewards despite of recent fluctuations in the industry.

Alphabet reported $80.5 billion in quarterly sales, up 15 percent from a year earlier and above analysts' estimate of $78.8 billion. Profits rose 36 percent to $23.7 billion. Analysts expected $18.9 billion.

Alphabet announced that, for the first time, it would give shareholders a dividend of 20 cents per share, to be paid on June 17. The company's board also approved a $70 billion share buyback program. Alphabet shares rose 13 percent in after-hours trading.

The digital advertising industry has ebbed and flowed in the last two years. In 2022, rising inflation and interest rates made advertisers more reluctant to spend, dealing a blow to Google and its competitors like Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram. Google's search engine has proven to be the most resilient to the fluctuations that have occurred since then, emphasizing its role as a gateway to the Internet for billions of people.

Alphabet continues to generate tens of billions of dollars in advertising revenue each year and has been using its funds to fund an aggressive push toward generative artificial intelligence as part of a growing race with Microsoft and OpenAI, the creator of the ChatGPT chatbot. Alphabet said it spent $11.9 billion on research and development in the first three months of this year, an increase of 4 percent.

In the last year, Google has incorporated AI into almost every facet of your product portfolio — answer some user questions on the search engine, help content creators create videos on YouTube, and suggest ways to start writing in Google Docs.

But the company's AI ambitions faced a notable setback in the first quarter. In February, users noticed that Google's Gemini chatbot was creating images of people who were not always historically accurate, which depicts America's Founding Fathers and World War II German soldiers as multiracial, and the women as former popes. He also refused to produce images of white people. Internet users expressed their outrage on social networks.

Google executives promised to fix the problem and in the meantime paused the chatbot's ability to generate images of people.

In Thursday's earnings report, the company gave few indications of whether the chatbot, which has free and paid versions, had taken off as a business. Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive, said in a statement that the company was “well on its way in our Gemini era.”

To continue paying for Gemini and other artificial intelligence products, Alphabet has tried to cut costs, including laying off workers. Since the beginning of the year, it has laid off employees in many of its business units, including Youtube, finance forks central engineering division.

As of March 31, Alphabet had 180,895 employees, slightly fewer than the 182,502 it had three months earlier, but a drop of nearly 10,000 from a year earlier. At the end of 2019, the company's workforce stood at 119,000, before embarking on a hiring spree during the pandemic, when it saw a surge in use of its online services.

In the first quarter, advertising sales on YouTube, Google's video platform, rose 21 percent to $8 billion, above the $7.7 billion expected by analysts.

Google Cloud, the company's unit that rents computer software and services to other companies, reported sales rose 28 percent to $9.6 billion. Analysts had estimated $9.4 billion.

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