March 16, 2010 –

The Internet world has been buzzing after Facebook enjoyed more visits than Google in the U.S. during the second week of March, according to the research company, Hitwise. This is ostensibly the third time Facebook has beaten Google as the No. 1 engaged Web site since Christmas Eve, 2009.

Facebook is credited by Hitwise with 7.07 market share percent compared to Google’s 7.03 percent.

A competing research firm, comScore, reports Facebook’s share was helped by its 10 percent growth rate – from 395 million visits January to 436 million visits in February.

The Internet’s intrigue is exciting. Three years ago MySpace was the No. 1 Web when Google took over. And for most of 2009, Twitter seemed to be the recipient of most of the online buzz.

Now, it’s Facebook because it makes it easy to share content and information, and it’s becoming a first destination site for users.

Most importantly is the implication that Facebook will ultimately help Bing in its competition with Google. Bing handles search for Facebook. This is another indication of Microsoft’s brilliance in forming strategic alliances.

Meantime, Hitwise differs by about 25 percent from other research companies, comScore and Nielsen, in estimating Bing’s performance. Hitwise only pegged Bing at 9.7 percent market share in search.

For example, in February, Bing continued to accelerate its growth according to Nielsen. The Nielsen press release states Bing’s market share is 12.5 percent. That’s a 15 percent jump since January. Nielsen also reports Google lost market share for two consecutive months – from 67.3 percent in December to 66.3 percent in January to 65.2 percent in February.

Nielsen also says Yahoo has dropped to 14.1 percent. This might represent a red flag for Bing if it is only taking market share from Yahoo. Bing needs to demonstrate success against Google. That’s because Bing and Yahoo will soon join forces in their 10-year deal with Bing being responsible for search and Yahoo handling the advertising.

So, it’s hard to say at this point whether the bloom is falling off Google’s rose. Other than death and taxes, nothing is ever certain but change.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s the latest Nielsen press release:

Bing Hits All-Time High Market Share: Nielsen.