Internet research firm Experian Hitwise has released its end of year figures, and for the first time, Facebook has surpassed Google in terms of hits from American computers. While Facebook couldn’t top the total amassed by all Google’s properties (such as GMail and YouTube), when it came to a straight one-on-one contest, Facebook notched 8.93% of all US visits vs. 7.19% for Google. Other notable sites on the list included Yahoo! Mail (3.52%), Yahoo! (3.3%) and YouTube (2.65%).
Adding insult to injury, Facebook also ruled what people were typing into Google. The term ‘facebook’ was (for the second year running) the top searched item among US internet users, accounting for 2.11% of all searches. Meanwhile, ‘facebook login’ was #2, ‘facebook.com’ was #6 and ‘www.facebook.com’ was #9.
As one tech wag put it, there appear to be a lot of Americans who have yet to learn the difference between a search engine and their browser’s address bar. Regardless, the total Facebook-related queries amounted to 3.48% of all searches, a 207% bump over 2009’s tally. When all social networking sites are taken into account, they made up 4.18% of the top 50 searches.
Oddly enough, despite receiving very little media attention these days, MySpace is still on the most-searched list, but has slipped from second to fifth, while MySpace.com has fallen out of the top-10 altogether. In terms of visits, MySpace has fallen from fifth to seventh.
Facebook’s rise to the top of Hitwise’s list has been a rapid one, having gone from #9 in 2008, to #3 in 2009, to the top spot in 2010. Perhaps Facebook is just trying harder to extend its reach, as evidenced by the company’s announced presence at the upcoming London Affiliate Conference (Jan. 28 at 10:35am for those who will be attending).
For the record, Hitwise did not track visits from mobile devices, nor did it track visits by people using Google’s Chrome browser, which bypasses Google.com altogether. But Facebook’s ascendance is backed up by other tracking firms, such as comScore, who reported Facebook’s unique visits topped 647.5m in November, a remarkable 48% boost over the previous November. Seriously, that’s a lotta poking…