How Google (Alphabet) Makes Money: Advertising and Cloud

How Google, the search engine giant, is one of the most profitable and influential companies in the world. But how does Google make money? And what are the main sources of its revenue?

The answer is not as simple as it may seem. Google is not just a search engine, but a conglomerate of various products and services that span across different domains and industries. Google is also part of Alphabet, a larger holding company that owns other businesses such as YouTube, Waymo, Verily, and more.

In this article, we will explore how Google (Alphabet) makes money from its main revenue segments: advertising and cloud.


Advertising: The Core of Google’s Business Model

Advertising is the primary and most lucrative source of income for Google. In 2022, Google generated over $224 billion in advertising revenue from Search, Network members, and YouTube Ads combined. This represented almost 80% of Alphabet’s total revenue.

Google’s advertising business can be divided into three main categories:

Google Search & other

This segment consists of revenues generated on Google search properties (including revenues from traffic generated by search distribution partners who use as their default search in browsers, toolbars, etc.) and other Google-owned and operated properties like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Play. In 2022, this segment accounted for over $162 billion in revenue, representing over 57% of Alphabet’s total revenue.

YouTube ads

This segment consists of revenues generated primarily on YouTube properties. YouTube is the world’s largest video-sharing platform, with over 2 billion monthly active users and over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute. YouTube offers various ad formats, such as skippable and non-skippable video ads, display ads, overlay ads, bumper ads, and sponsored cards. In 2022, YouTube ads generated over $29 billion in revenue, representing over 10% of Alphabet’s total revenue.

Google Network Members’ properties

This segment consists of revenues generated primarily on Google Network Members’ properties participating in AdMob, AdSense, and Google Ad Manager. These are platforms that allow publishers to monetize their websites or apps by displaying ads from Google or other advertisers.

AdMob is a mobile advertising network that enables app developers to earn money from their apps. AdSense is a contextual advertising program that delivers text-based advertisements that are relevant to site content pages. Google Ad Manager is an advertisement exchange platform that connects publishers with advertisers and agencies. In 2022, this segment generated almost $33 billion in revenue, representing over 11% of Alphabet’s total revenue.

Google’s advertising business relies on its massive user base, its sophisticated algorithms, and its vast network of partners. Google collects data from its users’ online activities, such as their searches, browsing history, location, preferences, and interests. This data allows Google to create detailed user profiles and target them with relevant and personalized ads.

Google also leverages its dominant position in the online search market to attract advertisers who want to reach potential customers who are actively looking for their products or services. Moreover, Google partners with millions of publishers and developers who use its platforms to monetize their content or apps and share a portion of the ad revenue with Google.

Cloud: The Fastest-Growing Segment for Google

Cloud is the second-largest and fastest-growing segment for Google. In 2022, Google generated over $26 billion in revenue from its cloud offerings, representing over 9% of Alphabet’s total revenue. This was an increase of almost 50% compared to 2021.

Google’s cloud business can be divided into two main categories:

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

This segment consists of revenues from cloud infrastructure, data and analytics, and other services that enable customers to build, run, and scale their applications on Google’s cloud.

GCP offers various products and solutions, such as Compute Engine (virtual machines), Cloud Storage (object storage), BigQuery (data warehouse), Dataflow (streaming analytics), Cloud Functions (serverless computing), Cloud Run (containerized apps), Kubernetes Engine (container orchestration), AI Platform (machine learning), Cloud Vision (image recognition), Cloud Speech-to-Text (speech recognition), Cloud Translation (language translation), and more. GCP competes with other major cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Google Workspace

This segment consists of revenues from productivity tools that enable customers to collaborate and communicate online. Google Workspace includes popular apps such as Gmail (email), Calendar (scheduling), Drive (cloud storage), Docs (word processing), Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (presentations), Meet (video conferencing), Chat (messaging), and more. Google Workspace competes with other productivity suites such as Microsoft Office 365 and Zoom.

Google’s cloud business benefits from its technological expertise, its innovation capabilities, and its global scale. Google leverages its experience and leadership in areas such as search, AI, and machine learning to offer cutting-edge cloud solutions that help customers solve complex problems and gain insights from their data.

Google also invests heavily in research and development to create new products and features that meet the evolving needs of the cloud market. Moreover, Google operates one of the largest and most advanced networks in the world, with over 100 data centers and thousands of edge locations that ensure high performance, reliability, and security for its cloud customers.

In conclusion, Google (Alphabet) is a diversified and dominant company that makes money from various products and services. However, its main revenue drivers are advertising and cloud, which together account for almost 90% of its total revenue. Google’s advertising business is based on its ability to collect and analyze user data and deliver relevant and personalized ads across its properties and partners.

Google’s cloud business is based on its ability to offer innovative and scalable cloud solutions that help customers build, run, and grow their applications on its cloud. Both segments are expected to continue growing in the future as more people and businesses use Google’s products and services.

How Google: Frequently Asked Questions (F&Qs)

How Google

How Google (Alphabet) Makes Money?

Google, which is a part of Alphabet, primarily makes money through its advertising services. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:


Google leverages its search, web browsing, mobile operating systems, and cloud computing to make money through the sale of advertising and various service fees. One of the primary ways Alphabet generates revenue through advertising is through its Google Ads program. Advertisers pay Google to have their pages suggested to users and will attempt to outbid each other for the top spot on the search result list. Alphabet also generates ad revenue from the Google AdSense program, which enables non-Google websites to incorporate Google display advertising on their pages.

Google Cloud

While advertising generates the majority of revenue, Google Cloud revenues are growing rapidly. The company has three reportable segments: Google Services, Google Cloud, and Other Bets. Google Services is the most profitable while Google Cloud and Other Bets often post operating losses.

Other Services

Alphabet offers a variety of software and internet-related services and solutions, including web browsing and searching, cloud computing, streaming entertainment, mobile operating systems and applications, and more.

In the 2022 fiscal year, Alphabet reported revenue of $282.84 billion, which was a 10% increase from the previous year.

Does alphabet make a profit?

Yes, Alphabet Inc. does make a profit. For the fiscal year 2022, Alphabet reported an operating income of $74.842 billion. The net income for 2022 was $59.972 billion, which was a 21.12% decline from 20212. Despite the decline in net income, Alphabet’s gross profit for 2022 increased by 6.77% from 2021, amounting to $156.633 billion.

How does Google Maps make money?

Google Maps, a service provided by Google, generates revenue primarily through two means:

  1. Advertising: Google Maps allows businesses to post local ads to attract customers. When users search for a location, they are presented with a detailed map and a number of small advertisements for local businesses, hotels, restaurants, and other services. This type of paid advertising is the primary way in which Google Maps earns its revenue.
  2. Commercial API: Google Maps provides APIs that businesses can use for a variety of reasons. These APIs allow developers to integrate Google Maps into their own applications, and Google charges a price for this service2.

In addition to these, Google also generates revenue from its AdSense program. Companies can have advertising on their websites, which use Google’s proprietary algorithms based on the user’s Google search activity. These companies get paid by the advertiser when a visitor clicks on the ad located on their website, and Google is paid a portion of that advertising revenue.

How does Gmail make money?

Gmail, a service provided by Google, primarily makes money in two ways:

  1. Advertising: Gmail makes money by running personalized ads and sharing user data with advertisers to improve their ad quality. The major revenues for Gmail are based on the contextual inbox ads within Gmail. Advertisers are charged by letting them bid on ad spots. The higher the bid, the more prominent the ad spot that the advertiser gets.
  2. GSuite Subscription: Additional revenue is generated with their GSuite subscription that allows custom domain emails for businesses.

When you sign up for Google’s email services, you agree to share with them, the data that’s required to keep their business running. Gmail uses this data to serve you personalized ads on each and every platform that you visit. This is done with Google’s AdSense platform. Based on the type of newsletters and emails you subscribe to, Gmail serves you personalized inbox advertising. Gmail earns money for each click that a user makes on any of these contextual PPC and CPC advertisements.

Who pays Google the most?

Google’s biggest advertisers are companies that spend the most on Google Ads. According to data from 2013, Amazon was the biggest spender on Google search advertising in the U.S., with expenditures of almost $158 million. However, a report from 2012 indicates that Lowe’s, the home improvement chain, was Google’s biggest advertiser, spending $59.1 million on ads. Please note that these figures might have changed as they are not the most recent. The current biggest spenders could be different.

Is Alphabet richer than Apple?

As of September 2023, Alphabet’s net worth is approximately $1719.62 billion, while Apple’s net worth is around $2965.81 billion. Therefore, Apple is currently worth more than Alphabet.

Who owns the biggest share of Alphabet?

The largest shareholders of Alphabet (Google) are as follows:

  • Vanguard Group Inc.: Owns about 7.13% of Alphabet’s shares.
  • BlackRock Inc.: Owns about 6.19% of Alphabet’s shares.
  • Larry Page: Co-founder of Google, owns about 3.0% of Alphabet’s total shares outstanding.
  • Sergey Brin: Co-founder of Google, owns nearly 2.9% of Alphabet’s total shares outstanding.

Who owns Google now?

Google is owned by Alphabet Inc., a multinational conglomerate that was created as part of a corporate restructuring of Google on October 2, 2015. This means that Google is now a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

The largest shareholders of Alphabet Inc. are institutional investors like Vanguard Group and BlackRock. However, the control of the company is still in the hands of Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, due to their ownership of super-voting shares. This gives them more than 51% of the voting power in the company.

How much does Google make per day?

Google’s revenue for the most recently reported fiscal year was 279.8 billion U.S. dollars1. To calculate the daily revenue, we can divide the annual revenue by the number of days in a year.

Let’s do the math:

So, Google makes approximately 766.3 million U.S. dollars per day. Please note that this is a rough estimate and the actual daily revenue may vary.

Are Google ads paid?

Yes, Google Ads are paid. Advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google’s search results. They pay Google each time a user clicks on their ad (pay-per-click). The cost depends on various factors such as the quality of the ad, the competitiveness of the keyword, and more. This is one of the main sources of revenue for Google.

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