It has a core source of revenue that more than takes care of its basic needs. In fact, it so owns the digital advertising space it can live like a rockstar on the dollars billions of clicks (and taps) produce. Everything else it does exists to power that turbine and, maybe more importantly, keep risk taking, dreaming and innovation alive in Silicon Valley.
I LOL'd when I read the boilerplate Google used in its latest 10-Q under the Trends in Our Business section:
Advertising transactions continue to shift from offline to online as the digital economy evolves. This has contributed to the rapid growth of our business since inception, resulting in substantially increased revenues, and we expect that our business will continue to grow.
That's modest when you consider Google invented this trend.
However, our revenue growth rate has generally declined over time, and it could do so in the future as a result of a number of factors, including increasing competition, our investments in new business strategies, products, services, and technologies, changes in our product mix, query growth rates and how users make queries, challenges in maintaining our growth rate as our revenues increase to higher levels, and the evolution of the online advertising market, including the increasing variety of online platforms for advertising, and other markets in which we participate.
2014 will remain the year of tech- and data-driven companies, even if revenue growth rates slow down here or there. In Google's case, it's almost impossible for them to not to moderate just a little. And, as has been the case with Pandora (P) and other high flyers, management anticipates slowdowns in growth.