In the first three months of this year, Google spent more than any other company, doling out more than US$5 million to influence the federal government on issues including the regulation of online ads, child privacy and antitrust law. Google's sales for the quarter jumped 26% to $31.1 billion.
But quarterly profit of $9.4 billion, or $13.33 per share, exceeded estimates of $6.56 billion, or $9.28 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Google's other revenues, which include its cloud division and hardware sales such as smartphones and the Nest line of home automation technologies, rose from $3.2 billion in Q1 2017 to $4.4 billion in Q1 2018.
Alphabet slightly changed its monetization metrics for Google Network Members properties' revenue from the percentage change in the number of paid clicks and cost-per-click to the percentage change in the number of impressions and cost-per-impression, while the monetization metrics for Google properties revenue remain unchanged. Glassman Wealth Services now owns 376 shares of the information services provider's stock worth $350,000 after buying an additional 3 shares during the last quarter.
Alphabet was the first major Silicon Valley firm to report first-quarter earnings.
Google also saw cost increases from moving up when it awards equity to employees and acquiring streaming rights for its YouTube TV offering.
Alphabet earnings are up in after-hours trading.
Elsewhere in the results, the so-called "Other Bets" segment of the company, which refers to Alphabet's more futuristic projects - including the Waymo driverless vehicle business - also reported some growth, its revenue rising from 132 million (£94.6m) to 150 million dollars (£107.5m).
"Google continues to dominate both mobile and desktop search", noted Ivan Feinseth, an analyst from Tigress Financial Partners.
But traders' reaction was mixed on the results, with shares rising immediately following the release before falling into the red. Smaller players such as Amazon and Snapchat have seen rapid growth in digital advertising, pushing forecasts of Google and Facebook's collective market share slightly downward to 57 per cent, compared to 59 per cent past year, eMarketer said. Acrospire Investment Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Alphabet during the second quarter worth about $186,000.
But Google CFO Ruth Porat warned against thinking of the high capex spend as a one-off, stressing that the increased amount is reflective of demand for Alphabet services.
The company was able to generate much of its money through ads Google sold on its search engine, on YouTube and on its bevy of partner websites. Even so, by making its own rules rather than letting a body like Congress or the FTC create a new privacy standard, the new standard still could remain quite Google-friendly. Other Bets revenue was $150 million-down from $409 million in the previous quarter-with losses of $571 million.