Due to the company's missing of analyst's expectations for the fourth quarter of 2005, Google's stock dropped more than $70 from $432 into the $350s. The drop briefly eliminated more $20 billion of Google's market capitalization of about $127 billion, before recovering slightly. At the end of last year, Google reported total revenues of $6.14 billion, an increase of 92.5% over revenues of $3.19 billion in 2004.

CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts during a Tuesday conference call that the fourth-quarter results topped the company's internal projections.

"We are very pleased with the performance on every level," he said.

Google's management has steadfastly refused to publicly project its earning potential, making it difficult for analysts to reach the calculations that investors use to appraise a company's value.