[In progress]Google (NSDQ: GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt described the search giant's Q4 as strong, claiming that although the goal of cost-containment eluded it in the past, they've "finally got it down." In some ways Q4 was easythere were holidaysbut now, with the worsening economy, this is uncharted territory. He continued to express optimism that Google would benefit from the trends in search and online media in general.
Exchange program: About 85 percent of Google's employees have company stock that is under water. So the company going to offer people to do a stock exchange. It's a voluntary program. The stock covered by the program represents 3 percent of Google's total outstanding shares.
Surveying the field: Schmidt offered a rundown of why Google will remain healthy despite the poor economic climate. We're producing ads that have greater relevancy and that will translate into more revenue. DoubleClick integration is almost complete and we're trying to bring search's benefits to display. We have 800 free apps on the G1 Android phone.
What layoffs?: CFO Patrick Pichette avoided mentioning the contractors who were laid off during Q4, saying, "We're still hiring. We had a net gain of 100 employees in the quarter."
More to come
By David Kaplan