Alphabet's 'other bets' are bringing in more money, but still cost tons

Alphabet reported its Q4 2016 earnings on Thursday, and the results were mixed: The company brought in more revenue than expected, but profits fell short, and its stock has taken a slight dip as a result.

The most interesting story at the company formerly known as Google is the fate of its “Other Bets” category — the projects that lie outside of the company’s core businesses of Google search and advertising, like its Nest smart home products, Fibre internet service, and Verily life-sciences unit.

Alphabet has put these bets under increased scrutiny in the last year, and the thinning-down seems to have had an effect. On Thursday, Alphabet said the category made $262 million in revenue, a 74% increase from the year-ago quarter. Its operating loss was lower, too.

However, as this chart from Statista shows, it’s hard to call them successful. Though the other bets’ losses have gone down recently, they still burned more than $3.6 billion over the course of 2016. Just in case there was any doubt, Alphabet is a search and advertising company through and through.

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