The Google.com giant was slain by Facebook in 2010, as the social networking wave continues to erode traditional Internet properties. For the first time, Facebook received more visits by American Internet users than the popular search engine Web site. Reuters online reports that Experian Hitwise announced that 8.9 percent of American Web site visits went to Facebook while Google.com’s share was 7.2 percent.
Although the report by Experian Hitwise confirms that the technology powerhouse is in trouble, all is not lost: all online assets of Google taken together, including YouTube, still capture almost ten percent of Web visits. From that perspective, Facebook comes in second place, followed by all Yahoo sites considered collectively.
A changing landscape
Former social networking heavyweight MySpace fell to the number 7 spot on the Internet, even as its parent company, News Corp, announced layoffs of about half of its staff. Earlier in 2010, MySpace joined with Facebook representatives in what many say amounted to a “surrender” meeting which resulted in Facebook taking over all social interactions within MySpace as the former social networking giant announced a new focus on entertainment resources.
Search terms tell tales
Hitwise also released information about Internet search trends that also potentially spell doom and gloom for Google: four out of the top ten search phrases from 2010 include the term “Facebook” and its variations. This data suggests that more than 3% off all searches online were performed by people who were looking for Facebook, not Google or any other site.
According to the report as quoted by Total Telecom, “Facebook” was the top search term for the year, followed by “Facebook login.” The third most common search term for the year was “YouTube.”
The most sought after personality of 2010 was Kim Kardashian while searches for Lady Gaga, the Dallas Cowboys, Tiger Woods, and Star Wars reigned in other categories.
Social networking reigns
Even as news reports highlight the triumph of social networking over more traditional Internet venues, one distinction should be made: for practical purposes, Facebook is social networking. In spite of the plethora of online social networking sites on the Web, none of them – including Twitter – shows any signs of mounting any competitiveness against Facebook. Google’s own forays into the social networking, Buzz and Wave, were mediocre at best and remain virtually inconsequential on the world stage.
Even as Facebook matures, the worldwide online trend toward social networking and Facebook seems to show no signs of weakness. This is good news for Facebook and bad news for anyone who cannot integrate themselves into the Facebook community.