Updated from 2:44 p.m. Google ( GOOG) chief Eric Schmidt urged Wall Streeters to keep their faith in the world's largest search engine, and for a day they did. Speaking at Thursday's investor meeting in Mountain View, Calif., Schmidt said Google's prospects are as bright as ever, in spite of this week's
growth flap . He and CFO George Reyes offered insights into what Google is seeing in its markets and how the company tracks its own performance, without divulging any of the numbers followers of the company are so eager to see. Even so, the analyst day presentation came off fairly smoothly, sending Google shares up 3% on the day. Opening matters early in the afternoon East Coast time, Schmidt said Google intends to develop the infrastructure necessary to become a $100 billion company this year. "I'll leave it to you to judge whether that is $100 billion in market capitalization or revenue," Schmidt told the audience at the company's headquarters. Google, whose gross revenue last year was $6.14 billion, boasted a market capitalization of $111 billion Thursday afternoon, according to Yahoo! Finance. Still, Schmidt's less-cryptic comments -- "there seems to be significant keyword pricing upside,'' he said at one point, salving worries raised in Tuesday's remarks by Reyes -- drove Google shares higher. Schmidt said Google will continue to improve the quality of its search results, already considered to be the best in the industry. He said this will enable advertisers to more effectively target their messages to consumers. The company also isn't limiting itself to the online advertising market, Schmidt added. "We want to be able to store everybody's information all the time," Schmidt said. Google is taking aim at its big rival in the woodsy Northwest: "We are primarily focused on Microsoft ( MSFT) as a competitor," Schmidt said. Investors, who have punished Google's shares this year amid concerns about the company's growth prospects, responded favorably. They pushed Google shares up $11.65 to $376.45 Thursday afternoon. The shares still haven't recovered from the pounding they took Tuesday after finance chief Reyes spooked Wall Street with talk of the company's slowing growth rate. Reyes' comments Thursday centered on which metrics the company uses to track its performance. He listed revenue per thousand impressions and clickthrough rates but declined to offer any data. "If we shared these metrics with you, we would be sharing them with our competitors," he said. But Reyes emphasized that "we're a company that's driven by metrics and numbers." In 2006, Google's capital expentidures will see a "substantial increase" over last year $838 million, Reyes said. He added that international growth is not slowing. Earlier, Schmidt had tried to quell these concerns as well. "It looks to us that international growth is very strong and is likely to remain so for a long time," Schmidt said.