Facebook was America's most visited in 2010, overtaking search engine giant Google for the first time. The social network site edged out Google.com with 8.9 per cent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2010, while the search engine ranked second with about 7.2 per cent of all visits, according to online measurement service Experian Hitwise.
Facebook's move to the top spot shows just how quickly the site has grown in popularity. Within the span of six years, it has become the world's largest Web social network with roughly half a billion users worldwide. Google.com dominated the top spot as the most visited website in the United States in 2009 and 2008. MySpace was the No. 1 visited website in 2007 in the U.S. It is now ranked number 7.
However, when all of Google's properties are considered - such as YouTube and email - it still reigns as the most visited site at 9.9 per cent between January and November 2010. Facebook follows at 8.9 per cent. Yahoo and all of its properties ranked third at 8.1 per cent.
For Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg the news only gets better now that two separate online tracking companies have confirmed that Facebook has edged passed Google this year. His hit 500 million users, and he was named Time Magazine's Person Of The Year. He was even the subject of a Hollywood film (a little less than flattering, perhaps, but all publicity is good publicity).
Facebook's success points to a social change that profoundly alters how people get news and interact with one another - and even redefines the word 'friend'. Facebook, once merely a site to share photos and track down old high school chums, has become a universe unto itself - with many users retreating from reality to play Mafia Wars or Farmville with each other.