Google gets 1 billion 'unique' visitors

The Google homepage is seen on a large screen.

Kai Ryssdal: Our new media guy sends around a report every month about traffic to our website. I'm proud to say that in May Marketplace.org got -- a lot of unique visitors. Hard as our web department might work, though, it's a little demoralizing when we read that Google had a cool billion individual visitors last month. The market research firm ComScore says that with its search page, Gmail and YouTube, this is the first time any web company's user base has hit 10 digits. Actually, the number was 1 billion, 9 million, 699 thousand.

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports...these media-friendly milestones really do make a difference.


Mitchell Hartman: A billion isn't as much as a googol -- 10 to the 100th power. But it's still a number Google -- the company -- can brag about, says analyst Zeus Kerravala at the Yankee Group.

Zeus Kerravala: Because it's approximately one-seventh of the world's population now. It's a pretty staggeringly large number.

And the fact that they're "unique" visitors -- not the same people getting counted again and again every time they search -- shows Google's incredibly broad reach. Still, not all web surfers are created equal, says Kerravala. Some stay around longer. Some do more stuff. Even though Google's ahead of Facebook in unique visitors, Facebook's users spend more time on its site.

Kerravala: While people go to Google to find things very quickly, they tend to leave Google fairly fast. Where something like Facebook, they tend to know much about you. They know who you are, who you hang out with, where you go, where you shop, what you like to eat.

And that's marketing gold for Facebook, says Gartner analyst Ray Valdes.

Ray Valdes: It's three of your friends purchased goods at Pottery Barn. Based on knowing certain things about you, they can target their message more precisely.

It took Google years to get to its first billion visitors. But with mobile devices in the mix now, analysts say the next billion is probably just around the corner.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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