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What Google's earnings can tell us

Sign outside Google headquarters

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Google announces quarterly earnings later today. And as usual, analysts and investors are expecting good news. Advertising spending overall is still in the dumps. But the market for online search ads has been improving, as Marketplace's Joel Rose reports.


Joel Rose: Lots of people will be watching Google earnings even if they don't own the stock. That's because the company makes most of its money from search advertising. And search advertising can tell you a lot about the health of the economy.

Mark Mahaney: It's almost a real-time GDP indicator.

That's Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney. He says search ad rates react very quickly to changes in online-retail spending. And today, Mahaney will be looking for signs that search advertising has quote "turned a corner."

Mahaney: Not just that things are getting less worse, but that things are starting to grow again.

Google dominates online search with almost two-thirds of the market. But Microsoft's Bing is gaining a little ground. That's according to David Karnstedt, CEO of the online marketing firm Efficient Frontier.

David Karnstedt: Search is one of those that it takes a long time to change behavior. So the idea of seeing a steady improvement bodes well for Microsoft.

Microsoft reports its quarterly earnings next week.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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