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How Much Can Google Make Off Apps?

A billion dollars within four years, according to one company executive.

Within three-to-four years, Google hopes that its Apps will be more than a billion dollar revenue stream for the company, according to Nikesh Arora, president of global sales operations and business development at Google, who was speaking onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City.

Google has seen huge growth this decade. When Arora came to the company in 2004, the company was pulling in about $2 billion a year. Today, Google’s revenue is $24 billion. This comes almost entirely from its search advertising business, but Arora laughed off suggestions that Google is a “one-trick pony,” but. “It’s a pretty good trick,” he said. “I love that trick.” He also pointed out that search is not one trick in itself–the company has had to do a great deal over the past 10 years to serve the different categories that people search today.

Arora believes there’s much more to be had from the online advertising market. He estimates that the total online advertising market is about $50 billion a year, but expects that number to grow fourfold in the next five years. Google currently owns about half that market; and Arora coyly stated the company would like to continue to “participate” in online advertising as it grows.

Arora said that current trends in startups hint at the growing importance of applications in the cloud, and he did not contradict the suggestion that Google was looking to its apps suite as its second trick. Most innovations today start out aimed at consumers, he said, and slowly make their way into enterprises. Arora suggested that Google will pick up market share for its Apps by appealing first to consumers and small businesses.

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