For one week in March, Facebook – the source of so much recent controversy in the wild world of the Web – temporarily unseated Google as the most popular Website in the US. Now, Google itself is admitting that Facebook is the most popular site in the world, ranking above second-place Yahoo, third-place Live.com – run by Microsoft – and fourth-place winner Wikipedia.
There's only one problem: Google didn't include itself on the list.
The list, which appeared on Google's Ad Planner sub-site, measured domain popularity by unique visitors. By Google's math, Facebook logged 540 million unique visitors in April – some 35 percent of all Web users, universe-wide. Meanwhile, the popular social-networking site drew 570 billion page views. That's some serious traffic, by any stretch of the imagination.
Interestingly, Google's Ad Planner numbers show that people aren't just stopping by Facebook to check their profile. Instead, they're spending plenty of time on Facebook, to the tune of thousands of clicks per person. We've said it once, and we'll say it again: No matter how loud anti-Facebook protests get, there's just no way that most users are going to give up on Facebook.
Earlier this year, NYC-based tracking firm Hitwise announced that Facebook accounted for 7.07 percent of all US Internet activity in the week ending March 13. Google, with 7.03 percent of the market, was right on Facebook's heels. Hitwise analyst Heather Dougherty said at the time that Facebook had previously topped Google on a handful of prior occasions, including last Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
So what would have happened if Google had counted its own unique visitors? Well, we're pretty sure that the top ten list produced by Ad Planner would look different. Google would be up there, of course. But so would YouTube, the insanely popular video sharing site purchased by Google in 2006.