Facebook was the most popular Website and most searched term in 2010, according to HitWise. Facebook's connections and the increase in time spent with them are of bigger concern for Google.
HitWise delivered another red flag to Internet giant Google when it reported
Dec. 29 that Facebook was easily the most visited Website
and most searched term overall in 2010.
The social network accounted for 8.93 percent of all U.S.
visits between January and November 2010, with Google.com notching 7.19 percent
of visits. The search term "facebook" also accounted for 2.11 percent
of all search queries made worldwide, while Google only accounted for 0.63
percent of search terms.
It's not Facebook's rank as most popular Website and most searched term that
should alarm Internet rival Google. It's the amount of time Facebook's 550
million-plus users are spending on the social network, which will increase
thanks to the company's social plug-ins and connections.
in September that U.S. Web users in August spent 41.1 million
minutes on Facebook compared with 39.8 million minutes on all of Google's
That disparity is bound to grow larger as Facebook continues to strengthen
its search ties and social plug-ins outside its walled garden. For example,
Microsoft Bing, which powers Facebook's Web searches, is now serving
Liked results to its users.
Moreover, popular Web services are using Facebook's instant personalization
feature to create greater stickiness and cohesion between their products and
Facebook's social connections. The most recent company to leverage
this feature is TripAdvisor.
When TripAdvisor users go to that travel planning Website while logged into
Facebook, the site will reveal friends' reviews, a map showing places friends
have visited, and a list of their most popular destinations.
Those looking to travel can spend minutes or even hours perusing the
Facebook-federated content generated by their friends. This wealth of
information may pre-empt consumers from flitting around Google to read ratings
and reviews about a destination.
TripAdvisor provides one example. When one considers the dozens of popular
Web services that could tap Facebook's networking power to provide personalized
services, it's clear that Facebook's social connections can curtail searching
Google for content.
Indeed, by socializing more content, Facebook will directly and indirectly
continue to suck traffic from Google, which cannot access much of the
information the social network aggregates from its users.
That's why Google's 2011 introduction
of its +1 (current working title) social network
layers will be so crucial and so closely watched: It will show the world
whether or not Google will have a viable product to stop the traffic hemorrhage
When it comes to monthly traffic and minutes spent online Google has had no
answer to reverse the trend of users not only flocking to Facebook, but nesting
"Facebook commands more attention and consumer time, and that puts them
in a powerful position with marketers who want to reach those consumers,"
Forrester Research analyst Augie Ray told eWEEK.