Is Facebook on Top?

When is a search engine not a search engine? When it’s Facebook. The social networking site is much more than connections between friends; it is an important business networking tool, search engine, and community resource. The year 2010 saw millions of people using Facebook instead of a traditional search engine to look for product information, reviews, and suggestions. This is just one example of how Facebook is broadening its identity to appeal to today’s savvy searchers. It is not surprising then, that Facebook, according to Hitwise, was 2010’s most visited site in the United States. What does 2011 hold for both the networking site and its competition, Google?

Google could argue that they have reigned supreme in 2010, and they’d technically be right. In terms of overall visitors to all Google’s sites (including mammoth YouTube), Google would come out on top. Google is still the go-to search engine for mobile and video. And Google raked in more cash. But the numbers are encouraging for Facebook because they highlight the importance of social media in both business and personal sectors.

It also highlights one area in which Facebook so clearly dominates: social. Google’s attempt at social media, Buzz, is widely regarded as a tremendous failure, while Facebook is becoming more and more ubiquitous online.  Everywhere one travels, one sees the iconographic “like” thumbs up sign, and more sites allow users to sign in via Facebook. Shoppers can send Amazon gift cards via Facebook, and blog readers can comment through their Facebook profile rather than registering with a specific blog. The sheer omnipresence of Facebook, as well as the shortcut it allows users to take, makes it perhaps one of the only sites that can compete with Google on equal footing.

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