Google beat Wall Street's expectations for its fourth quarter, ended 31 December 2006, as the company continues to expand, selling search engine advertising much faster than its biggest rivals and than the industry average.

Google generated revenue of $3.21 billion (£1.64bn), an increase of 67% compared to the fourth quarter of 2005, the company said Wednesday.

Subtracting the commissions it pays to its advertising partners, revenue came in at $2.23 billion, topping the consensus expectation of $2.195 billion from analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Net income was $1.03 billion, or $3.29 per share, compared with $372.2 million, or $1.22 per share, in 2005's fourth quarter. On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain items, net income was $997 million, or $3.18 per share, topping analysts' expectation of $2.92 per share.