It’s hard to believe that what started out as Mark Zuckerburg’s pet project, “thefacebook,” in 2004 has since grown to become the Roman Empire of the Web as it ruthlessly stakes out new virtual territories, and operates under an all-powerful ruler.
Google has become the latest virtual kingdom to fall at the bloody scourge of Facebook, as recent data from comScore reveals that Americans now spend more time on Facebook than they do on Google.
According to comScore, U.S.-based Internet users spent, on average, 41.1 million minutes, or 9.9%, of their Web time on Facebook in the month of August, compared to 39.8 million minutes, or 9.6%, of their Web time on all of the Google Inc’s sites combined, including YouTube, Gmail, and Google News. Yahoo, which Facebook just bypassed for the first time in July, ranked in at No. 3, with users spending 37.7 million minute or 9.1%, of their time on the company’s sites.
In August of 2009, these numbers were reversed, with Yahoo accounting for the most time Internet users spent online (12%) and Google and Facebook each accounting for about 5% of users’ Web time. In 2007, users spent 12% of their time on Yahoo-owned properties, less than 4% on Google sites, and less than 2% on Facebook.
It is no secret that Facebook has been steadily amassing its forces and taking over the Web like an invasive species. In July Facebook reached over 500 million active users, up from 300 million users in September of 2009.
In May 2010, Facebook surpassed Yahoo to become the largest online display ad publisher in the United States, accounting for 16 percent of all online ads served to U.S. Internet users in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 12 percent for Yahoo. According to data from comScore, Facebook displayed 176 billion ad impressions in the year’s first quarter, while Yahoo’s properties displayed 132 billion ad impressions.
Facebook’s ad impressions have more than doubled since the first quarter of 2009, when it served just 70 billion ad impressions. And while Facebook’s ad offerings have been sharply rising, the impressions served by Microsoft, Firefox Interactive Media, and Aol properties have all steadily declined each quarter.
AOL paled under the might of Facebook in November 2009, when Facebook’s unique monthly visitors in the U.S. exceeded Aol’s. Facebook had dominated Aol on the global stage back in February 2009, when it became the 4th most popular website worldwide, surpassing Wikipedia in popularity. But on the domestic front, Aol had been ahead of Facebook in unique monthly users until November, when Facebook’s 102.9 million unique monthly users trumped Aol’s 99.7 million.
Facebook’s popularity skyrocketed when it became available to all Internet users in December of 2008, rather than being exclusively available to college students. Though Facebook had already been around for four and a half years, in the four months following its new general availability, its number of active users doubled from 100 million to 200 million.
That was around the time that Facebook passed up MySpace in unique monthly users in the U.S. for the first time. While Facebook had surpassed MySpace in worldwide uniques, MySpace had still led U.S. uniques until December 2008, when Facebook finally caught up and bypassed MySpace. Not only did Facebook outdo MySpace in the number of monthly uniques, it also accounted for more user time spent online. While Facebook started off 2008 accounting for less than 2% of user minutes spent online, it ended the year at 4%, while MySpace dropped from 7 percent at the beginning of 2008 to 2% of user minutes by the end of the year.
So what does all of this data actually mean? It means that Mark Zuckerberg has probably come closer to world domination than any other human being in global history. When the world one day shares one common form of currency, Mark Zuckerberg’s face will likely be on it.