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19. Google
Fortune 500 rank: 102
2009 profit: $6.5 billion
Google loves to surprise Wall Street. The search giant beat earnings predictions in every quarter of 2009 as full-year profits increased by half.

That's even more impressive considering that the U.S. online advertising market shrank in 2009. (Google earns almost all of its revenue from "paid search" ads.)

It must be noted that 2008's results included a $1 billion charge as Google's investments declined in value.

NEXT: 20. Liberty Media

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Last updated April 28 2010: 12:41 PM ET
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