Facebook Supplants Google, But For How Long?

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Hitwise.com reported in March that Facebook passed Google in traffic during the middle of March, but it wasn’t the first time that the Big G’s dominance online was usurped.

college studentHeather Dougherty says that on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the first full weekend in March 2010, Facebook traffic edged past Google, beating it once again in mid-March. More recent numbers haven’t been published, but that probably doesn’t matter: Google’s dominance online is over.

Google Relevance

That isn’t to say that Google is no longer relevant. Indeed, when it comes to search, Google still owns about two-thirds of the market in the US and is the leader in countries all across the world. But the problem Google is facing is that many people no longer search, rather they go straight to where all of the action is, in this case to Facebook.

With more than 400 million active users and half that number logging in to Facebook every day, the strength and scale of Facebook is hard to fathom. According to Facebook, the average user has more than 130 friends, people who help to share a story, tell what is on their mind, offer links to articles posted elsewhere and interact.

Facebook Onslaught

Facebook is supplanting Google in ways not imagined just a few years ago with friends spending a significant amount of time on that site, indeed almost as much as what they spend on other social media sites combined.

Notably, Hitwise announced on Wedneday that the search term Facebook was the top U.S. search conducted in the four weeks ending March 27, 2010. Overall, Facebook related terms accounted for eight searches across the three top 10 lists. So, if people go to Google, they’re actually looking for Facebook or related terms, moving away from search engines almost immediately.

Google Silence

Google is silent when it comes to discussing the long term direction that the company is taking, but you have to believe that its bustling Mountain View, California headquarters is buzzing with news about every Facebook advance into its territory.

Just as people have tossed newspapers to the side in favor of the Internet, it now appears that some web users have cut back on web surfing in favor of going to just one destination: Facebook.com.

What all of this means for search or even for individual websites is not yet known, but given Facebook’s relentless ascent, the impact will likely reshape the Internet.

Pass the pepto, will ya?

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Categories: Technology