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Facebook surpasses Google for proportion of users' time

Users now spend more time on the networking site than they do searching. Maybe Google Instant wasn’t a great idea…

Google had only topped comScore's rankings for a month before Facebook overtook it.
Google had only topped comScore's rankings for a month before Facebook overtook it.
Image: Franco Bouly via Flickr

FACEBOOK’S ONGOING BATTLE with Google to become the go-to resource online has reached another major landmark: a new study shows that for the first time, the social networking site has surpassed the search engine’s sites as the site where American web users spend the most time.

The online tracking firm comScore said that American users spent 413 million minutes on the internet over the course of August, and just under 10% of those – 41.1 million minutes – were spent looking at pages on Facebook.

Google, with its ranking including time spent on Gmail, YouTube and Google News, slipped to second with a total of 39.7 million minutes. Yahoo! was third, with its sites accruing 37.7 million minutes of viewership.

By comparison, last month Google had accounted for 40.5m minutes, Facebook 39.9 million and Yahoo! 38.7 million. In August of 2009, meanwhile, Facebook claimed 16.8 million minutes – a significant amount, though paling in significance to its current usership.

During that month, Google had 34 million minutes, behind Yahoo! which recorded 41.7 million.

The news marks another shift in the ongoing battle between the two Palo Alto-based companies to wrestle control of the online advertising industry; Facebook is set to break the billion-dollar barrier in advertising sales this year, though still a long way behind Google’s $6.82bn (€5.32bn) in advertising revenue in the second quarter alone.

Google had only overtaken the Yahoo! stable at the top of comScore rankings last month. Yahoo!’s 9.1% share of online time is its lowest-ever ranking in comScore’s polls.

The time spent on Google’s search engine itself is set further to slip in future months, after the site introduced ‘Google Instant’ which shows search results on the page as a user enters a query, without needing them to manually submit their search terms.

The company claims that the product saves users between two and five seconds per search.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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