It’s official, Facebook was a bigger hit than Google in 2010. The social networking site was crowned the top visited site of 2010 in the US according to data released by Experian Hitwise [Facebook was the top search term in 2010 for second straight year]. Facebook topped the rankings with 8.93% of all US visits between January and November 2010 in comparison to Google who came second with 7.19% of US visits.
The news capped off a great year for Facebook who reached an ‘important milestone’ earlier in the year when they overhauled Google for the first time in their history by overtaking them for an entire week back in March. Since then the figures have been consistent and Facebook can now boast that they are the most visited site of 2010.
These figures could indicate that internet is becoming more about socialising than searching. Facebook has been at the forefront of social networking ever since they overhauled the once imperious MySpace back in 2009 [see: Facebook Overtakes Myspace in US Social Networking Superiority]. In response to the growth of social networking, Google launched their own social service earlier in the year called Google Buzz, as well as the failed Wave platform and rumoured Google Me/Google +1.
So what should we make of these figures? Whilst this is a massive milestone for Facebook and web trends in general, it doesn’t take into account all of Google’s traffic. The data released from Experian Hitwise is for traffic to Google’s search engine and not all of their other services such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps and browser toolbar searches. When taking all of this into account, Hitwise reveal that Google are still king with 9.85% of US visits compared with 8.93% for Facebook.
It is evident that web users are becoming more attracted to social media sites, particularly for networking, building relationships and sharing daily life, but search and search engines are still an integral part of how we use the internet – and is, in many ways, a polar opposite to social when it comes to user intention. We can share information through social networking sites, but we still need to search for some products, services or details, and so whilst Facebook’s achievement is commendable it only develops the way we use the web rather than disposes of search engines; the death of Google is a long way off yet!