MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google finished the fourth quarter of 2006 in barnstorming style, with a 72% increase in net revenues to $2.34 billion (€1.80bn; £1.19bn), compared with Wall Street's miserly expectation of $2.2bn.

The hike was achieved by winning yet more market share from its rivals, at the same time wringing higher returns from its search advertising system.

Moreover, the expansionist trend is worldwide. Gloats ceo Eric Schmidt: "We are growing share in almost every country."

Moreover, although Google is exposing users to fewer ads per search, it is benefiting from higher quality and better targeted advertising.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff