Google misses slightly on fourth quarter earnings and stock dips

Google’s fourth quarter earnings missed Wall Street expectations today, but only by a slight amount. The stock dipped down 3 percent in after hours trading.

Here are the Q4 numbers:

Revenue minus traffic acquisition costs (TAC):

Analysts expected — $14.61 billion

Google actual — $14.48 billion

Earnings per share (Non-GAAP):

Analysts expected — $7.08

Google actual — $6.88

Cost per click:

On — Decreased 8 percent in Q4

On Google’s network sites — Increased 6 percent in Q4

As The Information’s Amir Efrati pointed out on Twitter, you can see Google’s true opinion of its fourth quarter earnings by comparing its press releases from former earnings reports. This is the first quarter in a year that Google hasn’t heralded its “strong” and “great” “momentum” and “growth.”

During the earnings call, Google’s CFO Patrick Pichette confirmed that the company has halted its Google Glass project. He explained that Google will pause future projects and reset their strategy when they aren’t having the impact hoped for. This is a change in messaging from the company’s earlier line that Glass was just “graduating” to a new stage of development.

Google also discussed its Chromecast stick, saying it has seen 1 billion cast sessions since the company started selling it. Despite the bullshit metric — number of units sold would’ve been a better number — Chromecast is clearly doing better than Glass.

This story has been updated with information from the earnings call.

NBC Taps Facebook (not Hulu) for Community Premiere

Community_2NBC (s GE) posted an early look at the pilot of its upcoming show Community online, but you won’t find it on the network’s site, or even the NBC-owned Hulu. If you want a sneak peek at the new sitcom, you have to become a fan of it on Facebook.
The networks are bound to try out a lot of different promotions to boost audience numbers (and get those upfront ad dollars back up), but this is worth mentioning for a couple of reasons. First, as noted, NBC isn’t driving traffic to or Hulu with this offer. Last year, Hulu’s relationships with its network parents made it the go-to place for first looks of the fall season. That could still happen again this year (with the addition of ABC content) as the fall season premieres get closer, but Facebook is first out of the gate.
The move also further validates Facebook as a burgeoning video powerhouse. To our knowledge, this is the first network programming premiere that the social network has hosted. Facebook is already exerting itself as a personal video sharing platform — extending that influence into premium content should have the folks at Hulu HQ concerned. Sure Hulu has Facebook Connect, but that’s still one step removed from putting the show right where people are already interacting and sharing what they like. Additionally, with Facebook, as opposed to other sites, the fan additions, comments and reviews are from real people — not anonymous rabble-rousers looking to post “U R Stooopid” a hundred times.

EPS Snags $30M for Energy Management

Did we mention that energy management tools are suddenly sexy in the downturn? The worse the market gets, the hotter technologies that can save energy look. So in the midst of hard times for cleantech sectors, EPS Corp., an 8-year-old startup making an energy efficiency tool for manufacturers, has just raised $30 million in a Series B investment round led by private equity and venture firm Altira Group. NGEN Partners and Robeco, which invested $20 million in EPS in 2007, also joined.
EPS developed a tool last year called xChange Point, and part of this latest round of investment will be used to expand that product’s customer base, according to EPS spokesperson Jessica Appelgren. The basic idea is to cut companies’ energy costs (and later, costs associated with carbon emissions) without the upfront capital costs of most energy-efficiency projects by offering xChange Point as a service — making it pitch-perfect for an economic downturn. It involves a web-based interface and hardware (which EPS owns) that attaches to manufacturing systems and machinery for real-time monitoring of energy use. It can also be used to organize and store energy data on EPS servers, and to control systems — adjusting temperatures or powering process elements on and off, for example.
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Subscribe Now to Save — Energy, That Is

epslogoEps Corp., an energy management company founded in 2001 by former Enron energy management employees, is offering companies a tool it claims offers immediate an return on investment: energy and energy cost savings, without the upfront capital costs of most energy-efficiency projects.
Its tool, xChange Point, comprises a software interface and hardware that attaches to manufacturing systems and machinery for real-time monitoring of energy use; it can also be used to control systems — changing temperatures, powering process elements on and off, etc. It provides an ideal solution for industrial customers looking to crimp energy use without a heavy, up-front investment, because xChange Point is provided as a service, not an in-house solution. (Think Zipcar, but for manufacturers, not drivers.)
As product manufacturers feel the squeeze from their customers on product costs and carbon footprint accounting, President and CEO Jay Zoellner says energy use is an area where they can instantly cut costs. “There’s just this overwhelming need for information about energy spend relative to products that they’re producing,” he says. In the current downturn, controlling the resource that they already have provides the best ROI — not retrofitting plants, adding solar panels or installing new equipment. To date, eps (formerly known as Energy and Power Solutions) says it has saved its customers more than $4 million in energy costs.
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