Most eyes will be on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) when the search king reports fourth-quarter earnings after the bell today. Here's a closer look at what analysts expect:


Q4 2011 (est.)

Q4 2010

Estimated Growth


$8.41 billion

$6.37 billion


Earning Per Share




Source: Yahoo! Finance.

There are two things of note in these estimates. First, Wall Street is calling for accelerating revenue growth after factoring in traffic acquisition costs. Second, earnings growth is expected to decline from 28.8%. That's roughly consistent with what we've seen in recent quarters, but the delta nevertheless bears watching since it could indicate lower margins.

Three more things to watch
As business-focused investors, there are several Google initiatives we're interested in. Here are three things I'm particularly hoping to hear more about:

  • Android development. Strong reports from its iPhone suppliers suggest Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is on the verge of another blowout quarter. Partly that's because of apps -- the Mac maker has been doing a better job of getting code to iOS first. Are there any signs of that changing? What do we know about how developers are taking to the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's free mobile operating system?
  • Google Apps. Office may still rule the world of productivity apps, but the past year has seen rising interest in cloud computing alternatives for most business services. Is Google capitalizing? At the Dreamforce conference in September, former CEO Eric Schmidt said the company had 40 million users of Google Apps and was adding 5,000 new companies per day. If true, we'll see the effect of those gains when Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) reports earnings after the bell today.
  • Tablets. Will we ever get an answer as to whether Google is making its own tablet? The latest reports say the search king wants to come out with an equally low-cost alternative to's Kindle Fire.

What do you expect to see from Google? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

And for more tech stock goodness, check out the Fool's new report on three stocks positioned to profit from the rise of smartphones and tablets. It's yours free, but only for a limited time, so take a look today.

Click here to add Google to My Watchlist for up-to-the-minute Foolish coverage of the stock and your entire portfolio.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google,, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.