May 5, 2010

Facebook beats Google in U.S.

Unimaginable that any website would be a more visited online destination than the ubiquitous Google. However, in U.S. where the online revolution began, it seems that the social website Facebook, which also contains its own application platform, now attracts more internet traffic than Google.

The rise of Facebook according to the graph, has been spectacular. I've noticed that friends which until recently I found only on other platforms such as Orkut (popular in India) and Yahoo are now to be found in Facebook.

Facebook was launched just in 2004, for just Harvard students, then expanded outwards in later-2006 to anyone holding a valid email address. At that time was the leader site in online personal web pages, and the two became rivals. Myspace allowed its users to design their pages in any way they liked, while Facebook kept control on the look and feel. This ended up making myspace a very wild and noisy online space filled with the participants' creativity, but confusing for the casual user. Facebook reduced your design choices, but that made it simpler and recognisable. Myspace has reduced in profile, but still popular among musicians and artists. Now, Facebook has moved far beyond myspace and seems to be competing with status-update micro-blogging site Twitter.

In 2007, Facebook launched a platform, f8 for creating applications that ran on its website. There was also an associated Facebook Markup Language. This allowed developers to create their own games and experiences that user could share with each other on the website. The experience moved beyond simple communication between community members to participating in shared activity. This can be very addictive especially where elements of competition and public achievement are introduced into the application, such as in multi-player games. This is especially helping to keep people locked into the Facebook website.

While Facebook has no hope of beating Google as a way of searching on the web, the shift in traffic share, does mark a change in the way people are now using the Internet - to participate in communication and shared experiences rather than a convenient source of information.

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