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Facebook Edges Google In Site Visits

The social networking colossus, now the most visited Web site in the U.S., could see a revenue boost.
Facebook last week slipped past Google as the most visited Website in the United States, a Web metrics firm says.

For the week ending March 13, Facebook accounted for 7.07% of all U.S. Internet visits, while Google accounted for 7.03%, according to Hitwise. It was the first time Facebook had held the No. 1 spot for a week.

Before the latest results, Facebook had reached the No. 1 ranking on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day last year, New Year's Day this year, and the weekend of March 6 and 7. Facebook's market share last week increased 185% from the same period in 2009, while Google saw a 9% increase year-to-year.

In capturing the top ranking, Facebook is not expected to relinquish its lead anytime soon, Hitwise analyst Heather Dougherty said Monday in her blog. "This development represents a major win for Facebook."

The social network's new ranking could result in a revenue boost and may have an impact in Facebook's talks with advertisers and investors, Dougherty said.

"A further snowball effect in terms of user interest might occur, too, since most people like to be part of something that's popular," the analyst said.

The last time Google fell to No. 2 for a full week in the United States was in September 2007, when it was surpassed by MySpace, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The report came the same day Facebook announced that it was opening an operations and support center in India in order to better serve U.S. and international customers. The news came less than a week after the company said it would open a new facility in Austin, Texas.