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Google’s moving up in the world, or at least up in the UK. The search engine giant just became Britain’s second-highest advertising earner, only slightly behind – and on track to overtake – ITV, a commercial television network.

Jonathan Richards and James Doran of the Times Online covered the development, and they had quite a few statistics to share. “Google’s UK advertising revenue has risen by 83 per cent,” the pair revealed, which amounts to over $1.6 billion in 2006.

As for 2007, there’s little doubt that Google will overtake ITV. “ITV’s most recent figures showed advertising revenues of £1.63 billion,” or about $3.2 billion, according to Richards and Doran. Yet “Google was expected to close that gap after half-yearly results” because “the broadcaster indicated that revenues had fallen by 8 per cent.”

Google’s doing its best not to scare the natives, though. An unnamed official told the Times Online that “[t]he market for online ads is growing and there’s room for many players within it.”

Or, in other words, “we promise not to drive your traditional media companies out of business.” That might come as a relief to some groups; the Inquirer’s Andrew Thomas wrote a story on the matter in terms of “Google’s seemingly-unstoppable growth” and “troubled UK commercial broadcaster ITV.”

As a footnote: Google made a few comments to the Times about a request from the SEC, and the company doesn’t want anyone to believe that it’s achieved its earnings through less-than-honest means. “We believe that we properly account for our income taxes,” a representative said.

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