NEW YORK – Web search leader Google Inc. (GOOG) aims to become a $100 billion company and said Thursday that it plans to put systems in place to help reach that scale during 2006.
"I'll leave it to you to judge whether that is $100 billion in market capitalization or revenue," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said when discussing priorities for 2006.
As of Wednesday, Google's market capitalization was already more than $100 billion, at $111.5 billion. For all of 2005, Google had revenue of $6.14 billion, up 92.5 percent from 2004's $3.19 billion.
Goals for 2006 also include improving the quality of Google's core Web search and advertising businesses, boosting the size of its Internet audience and expanding the number of products, services and business partnerships, the executive said.
He was speaking to financial analysts at the opening of the company's annual Google Analyst Day meeting at its Mountain View, California headquarters. His remarks were Webcast.
Schmidt underscored that the company was focused on long-term growth and has no plans to alter its policy of refusing to set short-term financial targets.
"We are running the company under the philosophy and principles that are written in that initial founder's letter. We're going to continue running the company under those principals," Schmidt said.
Executives at the meeting sought to answer some of the dozens of questions analysts have posed in recent research reports as they seek to value the company.
On Wednesday, UBS Analyst Ben Schachter published a list of 23 questions he hoped Google would answer, ranging from how to model its future financial performance to revenue prospects for new mobile, video, classified advertising and other services.
"It looks to us like international growth is very strong and likely to remain so for a very long time," Schmidt said.
He denied that advertising pricing for popular keyword searches in Google's industry-leading pay-per-click system had weakened in recent months, as some analysts have speculated.
Google derives more than 97 percent of its revenue from search-related advertising.
"It does not look like any specific segment has topped out," Schmidt said, adding that he saw significant pricing power "to the upside" — in other words the capacity to boost the prices its advertising customers pay.
In afternoon trading, Google shares were up $15.40 or over 4 percent to $380.20.
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