Google Registers 1 Billion Unique Visitors In May

Google's websites have been visited by more than one billion Internet surfers in May this year, making it the first Internet company to ever reach that mark, according to comScore data.

Method of Calculation

Incidentally, comScore's estimations are based on its 'global measurement panel' of two million Internet users, similar to how Nielsen measures television ratings. The company refines the estimates with 'page view' data that it receives from more than 90 of the 100 publishers of Web content, but not from Google.

In fact, comScore began measuring global unique-visitor traffic on websites in early 2006, when Google reportedly had about 496 million unique visitors per month and the category was dominated by Microsoft, its MSN search engine and content sites, with 539 million visitors.

The Findings

Google's unique visitors per month have increased 8.4 per cent to more than one billion over the past year. During the same period, Microsoft has witnessed 15 per cent growth and has come second with 905 million unique visitors in May. Facebook ranks third with a 30 per cent increase to around 714 million visitors, followed closely by Yahoo! That has recorded 10.8 per cent increase with 689 million visitors.

However, in terms of the amount of time spent by internet users on a particular site, Facebook is the clear leader, followed by Microsoft and Google. Internet users spent 250 billion minutes on Facebook in May, 2011, an increase of around 66.6 per cent from 2010, while users spent 204 billion minutes (down 13.6 per cent) on Microsoft sites and 200 billion minutes (up 13 per cent) on Google.

Google In Legal Trouble

Even though the achievements are promising, all is not well for Google. It will have to face antitrust investigations, started against the company by at least three state attorneys generals (California, Ohio and New York). The company dominates the global market for search advertising and has been accused by its competitors that it favours its own services over its rivals in its search results, says a Reuters report.

Google's dominance of the Web search industry has been a concern for US antitrust regulators and the company has been under probe by the European Commission since November, 2010. Many of the complaints filed with the regulators against Google are from rival companies who specialise in vertical searches like price comparison websites.

Additionally, Google is about to receive a civil equivalent of a subpoena from the US Federal Trade Commission as part of a probe into the company's Internet search business according to the Wall Street Journal. The FTC plans to send the civil investigative demand with a request for more information within five days.

Google may land into further trouble since a New York judge has said that a deal made by the search engine giant with publishers and authors for the creation of a digital library, is illegal, partially because Google has acquired those without the formal consent of the authors.

The company has also seen a drop in share value this year, from over $600 to below $500. As of June 24, the scrip was down 1.39 per cent to $480.22 on the NASDAQ.