Facebook passes Google as the most popular site on the Internet

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Mark Zuckerberg’s certainly had a good year.
His social networking site Facebook hit 500 million users, and he was named Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year.
He was even the subject of a Hollywood film (a little less than flattering, perhaps, but all publicity is good publicity).
Now two separate online tracking companies have confirmed that Facebook has edged passed Google to become the most popular site on the Internet.
It also points to a social change that profoundly alters how people get news and interact with one another – and even redefines the word ‘friend’.
Facebook, once merely a site to share photos and track down old high school chums, has become a universe unto itself – with many users retreating from reality to play Mafia Wars or Farmville with each other.
Its rise suggests internet users are moving away from cold search engines and relying more on the knowledge and recommendations of their friends and family.
Lou Kerner, a social-media analyst with Wedbush Securities – and former chief executive of Bolt.com, an early networking site – said: ‘This is the most transformational shift in the history of the Internet.
‘We’re moving from a Google-centric web to a people-centric Web.’
According to Experian Hitwise, Facebook jumped to the top spot after spending last year in third place and the year before ranked ninth.
The company found that 8.9 per cent of unique online visits were to Facebook this year, compared with Google’s 7.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, ComScore, another firm that calculates Web traffic, said Facebook is on track in 2010 to surpass Google for the first time in number of pages viewed.

Each unique visit to a site can result in multiple page views.
A survey this summer by the Nielsen Co. found that Americans spent nearly 23 per cent of their time online using social networks, up from about 16 per cent in a 2009 poll.
Social networking took up more time than any other activity, including e-mail, which experienced a decline. Searching took up just less than four per cent of time online, according to the survey.
Consumers use Google to get to other places, but they log on to Facebook to stay. Hitwise points to this fact as the reason why Facebook accounted for roughly a quarter of online page views in November, significantly outpacing Google.
But there is one key area in which Facebook has yet to surpass Google: revenue.
The search giant recorded nearly $24 billion in sales this year. Several news reports put Facebook’s revenue at $800 million in 2009, and the company is expected to bring in about a billion dollars this year – though how profitable Facebook is remains in question.
Mr Zuckerberg has said he eventually plans to take the company public, and the timing is the subject of hot debate among investors.
According to SharesPost, an exchange for shares of private companies, Facebook is worth more than $45 billion.
Google’s market value is more than four times that amount.

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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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