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Will Facebook Overcome the Popularity of Google?

Facebook over Google

In March of 2010 the US witnessed a shocking internet event: Google became #2. Who put Google in their place as the most popular website? Facebook.

According to the NY-based tracking firm, Hitwise, Facebook received 7.07 percent of all internet traffic as of the week ending March 13, 2010. In comparison, Google received 7.03 percent. But it appears that this was not a solitary event. Hitwise spokespeople said that Facebook has topped Google in the recent past, including the last Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

Do these numbers mean that Facebook will bypass and completely overcome the popularity of Google? Not likely. Though the recent numbers are good news for Facebook, there are many reasons why Google will continue to remain the customer-preferred choice for internet services.

First, look at the experience and business model. Google has been around for over 10 years, and now is a public company with over $23 billion in yearly revenue and $130 billion in assets. They are a giant in the internet services business, with a solid business model and a diverse array of internet services, including their new social media, Buzz.

Facebook, on the other hand, is still trying to find its place in the internet services industry. Though Facebook was founded in 2004, it is still considered a start-up when it comes to having a sustainable business model and consistent revenues. Since Facebook is not a publicly traded company, revenues can only be estimated by experts, and is estimated at around $8 billion to $15 billion per year.

Second, one has to look carefully at the numbers provided by Hitwise. They are clear that the single domain, Facebook.com, had more hits than the single domain, Google.com. While Google’s main business element is its search feature, the numbers exclude all the hits to its other sites, including Google Maps, Gmail, and let’s not forget YouTube. All combined, Google still has the lions share of all total internet hits.

Apples vs Oranges

While Facebook is certainly enjoying the limelight for a while, Google is certainly not concerned. The two most popular internet sites have completely different goals and customer uses. Facebook is almost strictly a social media site where people can get together, discuss, share photos, and stay in touch. Google is a search engine that provides valuable services that turn hits into cash. While Facebook does have a basic search feature, it will never surpass the technology of Google.

Facebook can look to higher revenues, however. With the new numbers it can certainly vie for a higher asking rate from advertisers. And while the numbers are good, the question is, will they remain so? Facebook is not a “go-to” place to find businesses and advertise – yet. And while Facebook has over 103 million US-based users and over 400 million worldwide, it still must get past its “coolest new thing” phase. Will members stick with Facebook? Or will they move on much like they have with other internet trends.

It is clear that Google has a dominant position on the internet along with a solid business model and plan for continued growth. Facebook may be the next best thing, but despite the recent numbers overcoming Google in hits, it will likely never surpass Google for quality of services.

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