It's easy to get caught up in the Wall Street expectations game, under whose rules Google just had a disastrous third quarter. But while earnings were down significantly year over year, the company still hauled in over £1.3 billion of income on £8.7 billion of revenue. That's got to count for something, right?

The release came earlier than expected; Google's not holding a call to discuss the quarter until later, and the numbers usually roll out about an hour before that. But since they're here, let's talk about 'em! Google and its affiliates brought in £7.1 billion in revenue, of which £4.8 billion came from Google-owned sites. Paid clicks were up 33 per cent (that's good!) but cost-per-click, a crucial profitability metric, fell 15 per cent year over year (that's bad!). The company's got over £28 billion cash on hand, which pales in comparison to Apple's war chest but is still pretty darned impressive.

So why is Wall Street so hot and bothered, sending Google stocks plummeting 10 per cent already? Because the numbers, while generally strong, don't live up to analyst spreadsheets. And that's fine! Stock prices are based on guesses, and what we're watching with the stock drop is reality setting in. But don't read too much into it in terms of Google's overall health. Most tech companies would kill for these numbers, expectations or no.

We'll be on the call later this evening in case any details slip out, or just for an excuse to once again hear Larry Page's dulcet tones. [SEC]