You can't spell "Google" without "ogle"
Tuesday night's earnings report from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was devastating. The company that had lulled the market into blissful complacency with five straight blowout quarters finally proved mortal. It missed Wall Street's targets, and the punishment came sharp and swift. Google shares were off by more than $30 the following day. Then again, given Google's lofty heights, the decline amounted to just a 7% slide.

I didn't think it would happen this soon. Even though I predicted that Google shares would fall in 2006, it was based on various factors that had yet to materialize. I was as blown away as anyone else to see Google miss fourth-quarter estimates, but I guess we got what we deserved.

Google's stance has always been to not provide earnings guidance. That has helped fuel the stock's torrid rise because it has left analysts scrambling after the company's fundamentals kept improving quicker than Wall Street models could add it all up. Silence can be a beautiful thing when you're about to blow the market away, but when you miss, it can be ugly indeed.

Plenty of companies put up softball targets only to blow them away. Just check out what companies such as Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL), Rule Breakers recommendation Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), and Stock Advisor selection Pixar (NASDAQ:PIXR) have been doing over the past few quarters.

The key difference is that those companies are going public with their outlook. If they think they're going to miss, they may be willing to warn investors ahead of time. Google doesn't afford itself that kind of luxury.

This quarterly miss changes things, of course. Now, instead of wondering by how much analysts missed on Google, we'll be asking where Wall Street will land. This doesn't take away from what was a great quarter in absolute terms. Revenue growth of 86%? Net profits up a snappy 82%? This is clearly still in the upper echelon of growth stocks. The only thing is that if it keeps analysts in the dark and continues to miss consensus estimates, the cheering section will thin out in a hurry.

Waiting on a Whopper
After 52 years, Burger King is ready to trade as a standalone public company. The fast-food giant announced that it will file to go public in a matter of weeks. It doesn't mean this will be the next fire-grilled scorcher of an IPO, though. The Whopper maker has been struggling in recent years, despite a resurgence at rivals such as McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and CKE Restaurants' (NYSE:CKR) Carl's Jr. and Hardee's chains.

I drive by the Burger King corporate headquarters down in Miami several times a week, so maybe I'll just have to drive more slowly and start counting cars or gauging morale coming out of the building, now that there will be money riding on a turnaround.

If anything else, I guess I'll go for a Burger King sandwich the day the company does go public -- buy, sell, or hold the mayo.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to look back, even if it means he falls on his face going forward. He does own shares in Pixar. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.