Facebook surpasses Google as the Internet’s top dog

According to reports, Facebook has managed to claim the Internet’s top spot as most popular site online, finally pulling ahead of the long reigning champion, Google.

Facebook, a site that launched only six short years ago, has quickly ascended to number one with over 500 millon users. Users can atest to this fact as they see their parents and distant relatives joining the former college-based social networking site.

The popularity of Facebook also marks a growing trend in the way people surf online – with the user experience becoming more social.

Aside from messing around on Twitter and Facebook, the social aspect of the Internet extends into content consumption and e-commerce as more sharing and recommendations tools further integrate into sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay.

As the Internet becomes more social, Facebook has looked to leverage its traffic for monetary value by developing advertising platforms, offering better fan page features, and integrating what analysts are calling “F-commerce,” Facebook’s growing e-commerce features.

Because of this shift, Facebook was able to rake in $800 million in 2009, with figures yet to be released for 2010.

This number pales in comparison to Google’s $24 billion last year, but it’s safe to say the social networking site is hoping to amp up its game for 2011.

In a world where mainstream brands are turning to Facebook to create a conversation around their products, Facebook is at liberty to charge users $20,000 just to run a contest on their fan page. This is a figure that really adds up when you look at the amount of users and brands using the social networking platform.

“This is the most transformational shift in the history of the Internet,” said Lou Kerner, a social-media analyst with Wedbush Securities and former chief executive of Bolt.com, an early networking site. “We’re moving from a Google-centric Web to a people-centric Web.”

According to SharesPost, Facebook is worth $45 billion and growing. Although this amount is four times less than Google’s worth, the sum is hardly pathetic.

The relationship is also somewhat symbiotic, as “Facebook” and “Facebook login” account for the first and second most searched terms on Google.

As we enter 2011, time will only tell if Facebook can hold on to the Internet’s number one seat, or if they’ll be knocked out by Google, Twitter, or some other unknown social networking giant.