comScore said U.S. Web users in August spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook compared to 39.8 million minutes on all of Google's Websites. Facebook's rise requires a social network answer from Google.
For most watchers of the
Internet sector, the increasing belief that Web surfers are spending more time
on Facebook than they are on Google is a piece of well-worn trivia.
comScore said U.S. Web users in
August spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook compared to 39.8 million minutes
on all of Google's Websites combined, including YouTube, Gmail and other
Facebook's ascension to the top
spot in minutes logged to its Website is a first and underscores the importance
of Google's pending social network
The notion that Facebook would
surpass its search portal giants in minutes spent online has seemed like a
foregone conclusion for months given the social network's meteoric rise in
users and the rampant sharing of links, photos, video and other content on the
Facebook is like a warm, bubbly
bath, where many of its 500 million worldwide users spend on average of 20
minutes or more per day socializing with friends, family and even colleagues.
Google is a fact-finding
powerhouse for searchers wanting a quick fix. The search engine handles
more than a billion searches a day from its one billion users, numbers
that could soar with Google Instant
ramping up the pace of search on Google.
The idea that Facebook would
best a search engine built to serve users results and send them elsewhere seems
But the idea that Facebook is
also beating out an incredibly sticky video site in YouTube, a massively
popular Webmail app in Gmail, and several other Web services is impressive and
points to Google's dilemma.
Engagement is now clearly skewed
to social network sites like Facebook, not siloed Web services such as Google search
This makes it imperative for
Google to launch the alleged social network it is quietly building through
internal programming, investment
in Zynga and fervent acquisition
of Slide, Jambool, Angstro and SocialDeck, according to Forrester Research
analyst Augie Ray.
"Facebook is poised to continue to grow compared to
Google, and this is increasing the need for Google to act," Ray told Eweek.
"While Google has said little about their upcoming social offering, I
expect it will bring an organized social strategy to the center of the Google
Ray noted that while search, Gmail, YouTube, Google News,
Google Reader and other Web sites attract millions of users, the services are
largely separate. Even Google Buzz is its own social conversation service built
"Facebook commands more attention and consumer time,
and that puts them in a powerful position with marketers who want to reach
those consumers," Ray said.
"This isn't a crisis for Google because they still
have considerable engagement and terrific marketing offerings such as AdWords,
but Google will want to leverage its strong brand and the 39.8M minutes people
spend on Google properties each month to create what they have not yet created:
A single, cohesive place to engage, share, play and learn."
Will the Google Me
social network please stand up?