Facebook beats Google in one important metric: wasting time

Facebook users spent more than 41 million minutes on the social networking site in August. That's good enough to boost Facebook over Google and Yahoo.

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    Facebook surpassed Google last month in one very important regard.
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Facebook has 500 million users. And now Facebook, already the most popular social networking site in the world, has edged out search giant Google in one very important Web metric. According to analytics firm comScore, in August, American users spent more time on Facebook – 41.1 million minutes – than they did on Google (39.8 minutes, respectively).

Yahoo, with 37.7 minutes, maintained its comfortable third-place position.

A caveat: When we say Google, we're also saying all the Google sites, including Gmail and the movie site YouTube, which makes Facebook's achievement look even more impressive.

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"Facebook continues to grow its user base and grow engagement among its users," comScore's Andrew Lipsman wrote in a report released Friday. "A year ago Facebook accounted for less than 5 percent of overall time spent online in the U.S. and today it accounts for 10 percent.... This continued growth presents more opportunity for advertising now, and also more potential to engage its network for new revenue possibilities in the future."

Facebook, of course, has weathered its fair share of criticism – from bloggers, from users, even from international lobbying groups. Back in May, a handful of Facebook users decided to stage an "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day" event on Facebook, which stirred up a firestorm in the press, and caused thousands of protesters to flood the streets of Karachi, in Pakistan. And did you hear about the Facebook Fast?

But it seems nothing can slow the growth of this social network.

Ben Mezrich, author of "The Accidental Billionaires," which serves as the inspiration for the forthcoming film about Facebook, says he thinks the site is critic-proof. "It's such a huge part of our lives, it's such a quickly growing company, that any critique falls flat. Unless [the Facebook staff] does something really phenomenally stupid, and I can't see for the life of me what that would be, a certain age group is going to keep using the site," Mezrich told the Monitor.

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