Google may have been the top web brand in 2011, but things could wind up different if Facebook continues to steamroll the Internet. The two websites are embroiled in an ongoing war for web dominance, with Facebook posing serious problems for the search giant due to the social network walling off its content from Google’s search engine.
Analysts at Baird noted that, from a business standpoint, when Facebook walls off its site, it blocks a large and expanding web portion – something Google greatly depends on when indexing the web. “Google’s index has been faced with an ever-increasing blind spot for search.”
Despite the blip, Google still remains the top visited site in the U.S. The Mountain View-based company amassed a whopping 153.4 million views a month through October of last year, while Facebook garnered 137.6 million, according to Nielsen.
But with traffic continuing to flow through the Facebook channel, the social media giant is beginning to pull out ahead of Google in one key area: average time a user spends on the site. Facebook users spend 24 minutes and 45 seconds on the site, while Google’s visitors hang around for only 11 minutes and 52 seconds.
In addition, Facebook has more than 750 million users worldwide, with over half logging on daily. This equates to 700 billion minutes of usage per month. With so much usage, Baird sees a potential opportunity for Facebook to develop more in depth search capabilities, further threatening Google’s web dominance.
“Theoretically [Facebook could] enter the market by first creating a vertical search engine focused on social, and then broadening the scope to encompass more generic search capabilities,” Baird said.
Facebook has continued to grow through the web and mobile channels in the past few years. Can it continue to do so in 2012 and dethrone Google as the top web destination?