Facebook wins the web - or does it?

It's been a remarkable year for Facebook: the site registered its half-millionth user, was the subject of a Hollywood film and endless press coverage, and got its founder named Time magazine's Person of the Year. And here's a fantastic accolade for the all-conquering social network to end its year on: it's been certified the most-visited website on the whole internet in 2010, at least with Americans.

Or has it? The results, from traffic information gurus Hitwise, seem pretty unequivocal: Facebook picked up 8.93 of all US internet visits, more than any other single website. But rival ComScore has Facebook placed third, behind Microsoft and Yahoo.

What's going on? Well, it all depends on how you measure it. Comscore measures websites by provider, and if you take all of Google's web empire as a single measure it just - with 8.95% of all US visits - edges out Facebook. If you take each service - Mail, Calendar, YouTube, etc - as different services, Facebook is well in the lead.

That might seem fairer, but when you think of all the things Facebook does - photos, messaging, blogging - it's like a whole suits of sites in one. Still, even measured against the full portfolios of its rivals, Facebook makes a respectable third, overtaking poor old Yahoo, who have basically had a horrible year. Next year, pending some disaster, we confidently predict the Book of Face will be flat-out number one.

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