Facebook has passed Yahoo! and is now nearing Google in the #1 spot for most monthly unique visitors from the US, according to traffic analyst firm Compete. Compete just published its January numbers this morning and reported that nearly 134 million US web users visited Facebook last month. Google saw nearly 148 million.Social network
Google's US traffic grew by just over 1 million visitors between December and January. Facebook's traffic grew by almost 1.5 million. Yahoo's traffic fell by almost 1.5 million users. As Compete's Aaron Prebluda writes, Google passed Yahoo 2 years ago this month "and never looked back." This isn't just jockeying between companies, though. We may be witnessing the eclipse of search by social networking.
Three weeks ago we wrote about other numbers that pointed to the rise of social networking vs search (Why is Google Afraid of Facebook? Because Social Networking Could Soon Pass Search) but those numbers were a little less clear.
As we wrote then:
What would it mean if social networking over-took search in terms of sheer visits online? It would mark a sea-change on the internet. No longer would our dominant use of the web be seeking out web-pages built by HTML web-masters! Now we would all be publishing tiny little updates that perhaps only our friends and family care about. We'd be subscribing, more than we ever did by RSS, to syndicated updates from organizations of interest, large and small. It would be (perhaps will be) a very different era and, to be frank, it's going to be harder to monetize. There will be privacy battles. There will be new platforms for innovation.
It's a pretty big deal. Things will really change if current trends continue and social networking rises to the top... And that's a big reason why Google and Facebook are rivals.