By a variety of measurements, Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is the 800-pound gorilla of the Internet. It is by far the largest U.S. search engine and its various websites, including YouTube, attract the largest U.S. audience for online video. Google also leads in unique U.S. viewers at online properties visited from a desktop device.
What is a bit more interesting is how the other players in the field are shifting around. According to comScore, in November of 2013 the second leading online video site was AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), which claimed more than 73 million unique viewers, compared with 66 million for Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB). In December, Facebook passed AOL in unique viewers and last month comScore reported that Facebook attracted 91.5 million unique viewers to AOL’s 67 million. Google had 153.3 million unique viewers in June, down from 159 million in December.
The number of unique viewers in December totaled 188 million, compared with 186.9 million in June. As a percentage, Facebook attracted 35% of the total unique audience in December and about 49% in June. Google claimed nearly 85% of the audience in December, compared with 82% in June.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) has remained in fourth place with a total of 53.9 million in June, virtually unchanged from 53.5 million in December. Facebook hit about 91 million unique viewers in February and has changed little since then.
One possible conclusion: desktop online video has plateaued. Mobile video viewing, however, has skyrocketed. Research firm eMarketer expects mobile video’s audience to grow to more than 91 million in 2014, and there is little indication that growth will slow anytime soon.
As for search, Google’s sites dominate with about two-thirds of all U.S. “explicit core search,” according to comScore. This does not include “contextually driven searches that do not reflect specific user intent to interact with the search results.” Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Yahoo combine for 29% of searches, while AOL and the Ask Network get 3.4% combined.
Based on unique visitors, the top Web properties in June, according to comScore, were Google (189.7 million), Yahoo (171.2 million), Microsoft (164.2 million), Facebook (141.4 million) and AOL (107.2 million). No other property posted more than 100 million unique visitors.