Hitwise (though not comScore) now says that Facebook has passed Google to become the largest site on the Internet:
But the figures above don’t include all Google properties. And Yahoo + Yahoo Mail are larger than Facebook and Google.com. So these numbers can be massaged and manipulated to make various claims.
I want to ask: Is this merely symbolic or does this event suggest a material change in the nature of the Internet and the way we discover information online?
My view is that something has changed (over the past 18 months) and that social networks, user-generated content and social communication — extending into mobile — is part of a new Internet paradigm. Search remains critical but social is an alternative or counterpoint.
Here are the Nielsen top sites data for February (which contradict the Hitwise data above):