Google's first-quarter sales and earnings figures are almost a backstory to a more important potential trend--the company's modest (6.2 percent) revenue growth might mean that e-commerce business might be about to rebound, as online retailers make heavy use of search to drive business their way. New York Times reporter Miguel Helft noted:
"Analysts are looking for any indications that search advertising, which according to some reports declined in January and February, picked up later in the quarter, a trend that would suggest a recovery in the sector could be under way."
CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement that "Google had a good quarter given the depth of the recession ... These results underline both the resilience of our business model and the ongoing potential of the Web.
Google's net income rose 8.9 percent, besting Wall Street estimates, leading shares to climb 5 percent in after-hours trading, to $408.22.
While income rose 6.2 percent to $5.51 billion compared with a year earlier, Google suffered its first-ever decline from one quarter to the next, falling 3 percent from the fourth quarter.