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Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Stock for Google's parent company, Alphabet, was up over 6% in after-hours trading Thursday after the company reported that it met Wall Street expectations revenue and earnings per share.

Yes, but: The company continued to report major losses for its "other bets" category, which includes Alphabet-owned side projects like Waymo and Verily. In total, Google lost nearly $1 billion dollars on its moonshot projects.

Why it matters: Investors are eager to see how well Google is able to monetize its "other bets," since its main source of revenue, advertising, is growing slower than it used to.

The details: The company reported a 19% revenue growth year over year, which is slightly higher than what Wall Street was expecting, but still a slower growth rate than previous year-over-year tallies for the tech giant.

  • On the bright side, the company reported that its traffic acquisition cost was lower than analysts had expected. This means that it paid other companies, like Apple, less to send users its way.

By the numbers, via CNBC:

  • Earnings per share: $14.21 per share (excluding items), vs. $11.30 per share expected, per Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $38.94 billion, vs. $38.15 billion expected, per Refinitiv
  • Traffic acquisition costs: $7.24 billion, vs. $7.27 billion, according to StreetAccount

Be smart: Investors have been bearish on Google's ability to grow its ads business ever since it reported a significant deceleration in the growth of its ad business last quarter.

  • This new earnings report showed that Google's ad business is still growing slower than it used to, but it met investor expectations for how much it would slow.

The big picture: Despite positive earnings, Google faces major pressure from regulators that are eager to rein the tech giant in.

  • Ahead of earnings on Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard sued Google over alleged free speech violations, throwing Google even further into the political crosshairs of the 2020 election.
  • The Justice Department said Tuesday it had launched an inquiry into the market power of major online platforms, likely including Google.
  • Google is soon expected to pay a multi-million dollar settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for violating children's privacy laws.

The bottom line: Google has the largest digital ad business of any company in the world, bringing in roughly 30% of all digital advertising revenue globally each year. Its ads business is so big that it's proving hard to grow and hard to keep big without drawing the skepticism of policymakers, who say its size represents a monopoly.

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Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

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Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

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Biden's inflation danger

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President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.