Google passes Facebook as best global website of 2012

Google has a more global website than Facebook does this year, according to a new report. In particular, Google+ is offered in more languages on mobile compared to Facebook's app.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Google has overtaken Facebook and has been declared the number one global website of 2012. Facebook barely managed to grab first place last year, and now it's dropped down to second.

The results are part of the 2012 Web Globalization Report Card (the eight edition), put together by web globalization firm Byte Level Research. This year, the company reviewed 105 websites across 17 industries, as well as mobile websites and mobile apps, to better understand how companies are balancing global and mobile strategies.

You can see the top 25 websites on the right. The top 10 websites support an average of more than 50 languages and also demonstrate a high degree of global design consistency across most, if not all, their localized sites.

Although Google is reportedly struggling to harmonize its global navigation across its many Web services, the search giant is also investing in globalization. Google now supports more than 140 languages on its search engine and its new Google+ app supports 40 languages. Facebook's mobile app, by comparison, supports just 13 languages. Although Facebook is still improving its global navigation, the firm found the social networking giant's language growth stalled in 2011.

In the Report Card, languages account for 25 percent of a website's score. Its depth and breadth of local content, support for local-language social networks, the effectiveness of the global gateway, and global consistency across PC and mobile platforms, are all also counted. In 2010, Byte Level started tracking how companies promote local social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter around the world. In 2010, only a handful of companies supported a Facebook Page or Twitter handle outside of English. Now, more than half of all companies reviewed support a social network outside of English.

More specifically, the Report Card analyzes each website according to the following four criteria:

  • Global Reach (Languages): The websites support enough languages to reach a wide global audience. The average number of languages supported in this report is 32.
  • Global Navigation: Web users can quickly and easily find their localized content, regardless of what language they speak.
  • Global/Mobile Architecture: The website leverages global templates to support global branding while still allowing room for local customization. The website is also accessible via mobile devices, and language parity is maintained with the PC website. Responsive websites and mobile apps are also noted.
  • Localization & Social: The website is truly relevant to the user's locale and culture. Local-language social media are also supported and well promoted on the local sites.

The full 220-page 2012 Report Card is available in PDF format for $1,250.

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