Google's online advertising business mints tens of billions of dollars every year.
But the company is is undergoing a metamorphosis.
The transformation of its business is already much further along than many people realize, as Google and parent company Alphabet's sprawling efforts start to bear fruit.
Check out this chart from research firm Statista, which illustrates Alphabet and Google's revenue from non-advertising sources. In just ten years, the non-advertising side of the business has grown from an afterthought to 14% of the topline.
And the $15.5 billion generated outside of ads last year is serious money — it's more than four times the revenue that Twitter and Snapchat, combined, generated last year.
Google knows that one day the ad business will max out and growth will slow. Wall Street likes growth companies, and Google is well into an effort to grab market share in a host of other business sectors.
Google Cloud is a big part of that effort. In fact, Google executives have previously said they believe selling access to Google's cloud could one day overtake advertising as Google's primary source of revenue.
Google is facing tough competition in the cloud from the likes of Amazon and Microsoft. And recent revolts by its own employees have forced Google to bow out of lucrative military contracts.
Some of Google's other revenue sources include Google Fiber, its high speed broadband service, and the sales of consumer electronics such as Google Home, Pixel Slate.
There's also the 30% cut of app, music and movie sales that Google gets from transactions on its Play Store, which is the main digital hub for Android devices.
This week, Google announced that it would allow European phone and tablet makers to not include the Play Store on Android devices if they didn't want to. That's a major change (which Google decided to do as a result of an EU antitrust investigation) and it remains to be seen how that will affect Google's efforts to build up the non-advertising side of the business.
Skeptics laughed at Google’s side bets, moonshots and forays into management's sci-fi dreams. But the numbers indicate some of that toil and investment is paying off.
According to Statista's data, Google's non-advertising revenue in 2008 totaled $667 million. That equaled 3.1. percent of sales. Last year, non-ad revenue came in at $15.5 billion, which represented 14 percent of Google parent company Alphabet's overall sales.
Although Alphabet's various non-advertising businesses all face some bumps in the road that could slow down growth, the company's massive R&D spending means it has a lot more big bets that could eventually pay off.
UBS analyst Eric Sheridan, for example, wrote earlier this year that Alphabet's Waymo self-driving car business could eventually be worth as much as $135 billion. The self-driving car division of Alphabet is expected to begin commercial operations in Arizona before the end of the year.
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