Google briefly shocked investors with poor fourth quarter results which, on top of its recent troubles, can be defined as a distinct wobble in the company's otherwise stellar evolution. But, down at the coalface, it continues to tweak its search systems, throw out new apps and improve features in its fledgling social network.

Gosh! Google's Bad Quarter

It looks like Google can't catch a break in 2012, last week it was pilloried by rival social networks for its disconnects with Google+. This week, it shocked investors with a dud quarter, only raking in US$ 10.6 billion, down a hundred million on estimates. While there was a bit of a reaction with a plunge in stock price, by the end of the day it was business as usual.

Google announced that it is up to 90 million users on Google+,  added over 1,100 new hires and saw a rise of  34 percent on ad clicks during the quarter. Plus, it still has a handy $44.6 billion in the bank. Google tried to lay some of the blame on weakness in Europe with foreign revenue down a couple of points, but otherwise business continues as normal with the company canning weak products and focusing on the big picture for its future.

Back in the Trenches

Google might be doing more to anger its user  base with the latest change in its advertising/page rank policy. It has released a tweak to its search algorithm that will lower the rank of pages that have too many adverts in the top part of a web page, aka "above the fold."

But, Google doesn't seem to includes its own pages in this criteria, so expect outrage from some users. There's a decent summary of the issue to check out, if it only affects a tiny number of ad-swamped pages fair enough, but shouldn't Google be playing fairer?

Google+ on the Go

The evolution of Google+ on mobiles continues with a couple of new features added to the native Web version. Users will soon be able to see who is "+1"ing their posts with a check on the +1 button, making it easier to monitor interest in your activity.


What's hot in Google+ is now a mobile feature

A new "What's Hot" option also makes it easier to find the coolest stuff that's coming in from across your circles.  Updates to bring these tweaks to the iOS and Android applications are due soon to bring them up to speed.