Two years ago, search engine site Google Inc. (GOOG) eclipsed rival Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) as the No. 1 Web destination in the United States. Now, a six-year-old social networking site upended those statistics and raised the question: Is Google’s position in danger?
Web analytics firm Compete said Wednesday Facebook pushed Yahoo! into third place after attracting nearly 134 million unique visitors last month. Industry experts wonder whether No. 2 Facebook next will step on Google.
It could happen. According to Compete, the goal is engagement, especially as companies fight for brand dollars. “On this front, Facebook is second to none,” said blogger Aaron Prebluda. And Facebook has proven itself in the last year alone. From January 2009 to January 2010, the time spent on Facebook as a percentage of time spent online each month soared nearly 7 percent. In January 2010, people spent 11.6 percent of their online time on Facebook, 4.25 percent of that same on Yahoo! and a meager 4.1 percent on Google.
Google is more than aware of the competitive threat Facebook poses, which is why it just launched Buzz. Buzz is Google’s answer to the social networking phenomenon. Many observers question, though, whether Google – which also proposes to build several 1gbps broadband networks throughout the nation – has its fingers in too many pies, and, in the case of social networking, whether it’s gotten into the game too late.
Really, do we need yet another way to tell the world all our innermost thoughts? Compete will know more next month after it’s measured February’s Google v. Facebook numbers.