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Google vs. Facebook vs. Baidu: Battle of the Internet empires

A recent Oxford University analysis of Web data shows that in most of the world Google and Facebook are battling it out in the Internet "Age of Empires" -- with Baidu doing well in China.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

If you had to guess what was the most popular Website in your country, most of you probably would have guessed Google and some of you might have thought of Facebook first. Depending on where you live, the chances are you'd be right.


A recent analysis of Alexa Website popularity data by Information Geographies at the Oxford Internet Institute found that "Google is the most visited website in most of Europe, North America, and Oceania. Facebook, in contrast, is the most visited website in most of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as much of the Spanish-speaking Americas."

A closer look shows that Google is really the overall global winner. "The power of Google on the Internet becomes starkly evident if we also look at the second most visited website in every country. Among the 50 countries that have Facebook listed as the most visited visited website, 36 of them have Google as the second most visited, and the remaining 14 countries list YouTube (currently owned by Google)."

The biggest exception to this is China. There, the Chinese search engine Baidu is the top site. That's in large part, because Google started pulling out of China in 2010 in response to Chinese censorship. Since then Google has continued to move away from China.

Reporter Catherine A. Traywick noted in Foreign Policy that China's government may be helping Baidu expand its readership by redirecting attempts to use Google to Baidu. Baidu has long denied this claim. Curiously, Baidu appears to be South Korea's favorite Web site as well.

As for the rest of the world, Yahoo has stayed number one in Japan and Taiwan. In Russia, the Yandex search engine is on top.

From a global perspective, "Google is the most visited website account for half of the entire Internet population, with over one billion people." Baidu, thanks to China and South Korea's large Internet population, is second while Facebook comes in third.

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