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How big is Google, really?

GoogleThere’s been a lot of talk about how big Facebook has become, and with its 600 million users (!) it has certainly become a force to be reckoned with. But there is still one player out there that dwarfs Facebook, and that is Google.

The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to estimate just how big Google actually is. But we’re going to try anyway.

Since Facebook uses a single website, it’s relatively easy to keep track of its size (with size, we mean the number of people who use it). With Google, we don’t have that luxury, because it is way more than just the Google.com website.

To give you an idea, here are Google-owned websites ranked in the worldwide top 100:

Google sites in the Alexa top 100 (top sites in terms of traffic)
Site Name Rank
Google.com Google 1
Youtube.com YouTube 3
Blogger.com Blogger 5
Google.co.in Google India 14
Google.com.hk Google Hong Kong 17
Google.de Google Germany 19
Google.co.uk Google UK 22
Google.co.jp Google Japan 25
Google.fr Google France 27
Google.com.br Google Brazil 29
Google.it Google Italy 34
Google.es Google Spain 39
Google.ru Google Russia 44
Google.ca Google Canada 52
Google.co.id Google Indonesia 67
Google.com.mx Google Mexico 75
Google.com.tr Google Turkey 80
Google.com.au Google Australia 85
Orkut.com.br Orkut Brazil 86
Google.pl Google Poland 89
Orkut.com Orkut 92

Now let’s see now if we can at least estimate a ballpark figure of how big Google is.

Google Search

First, let’s consider Google Search. We have, of course, Google.com, the world’s most visited website according to Alexa.

However, just focusing on Google.com would not be fair to Google. The company has localized Google Search for virtually every country out there. There are 180+ localized versions of Google, all with their own domain.

As you can see in the table we included above, those localized versions of Google Search are popular. There are 16 of them among the top 100 sites worldwide, not counting Google.com.

And let’s not forget all those subsections to Google’s Web Search, like Google News, Google Finance, Image Search, etc. All of those are part of Google Search.

Overall, Google has 90% of the search engine market on the desktop according to StatCounter.

Then we have mobile search, where Google dominates completely. It’s the default search engine for most smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone and Google’s own Android. Google’s market share here is a whopping 97%.

How many users does Google Search as a whole have?

There are about 2 billion Internet users in total, more than 1.5 billion even if you subtract China, which Google currently has a somewhat rocky relationship with. Would it be unrealistic to say that Google Search has at least a billion users if you count the entire Internet? We don’t think so.

But Google is more than search.

The size of Google’s other properties

Although hard numbers can be hard to come by, here are some of Google’s major services and

YouTube

The world’s largest online video service. The YouTube website alone has 500 million visitors per month. Also, 82% of all embedded videos on blogs are YouTube videos (although that last number is from a couple of years ago).

Blogger

Blogger is one of the world’s largest blogging platforms. Its blogs collectively had more than 400 million readers in 2010.

Orkut

Orkut was Google’s first foray into social networks, and still its most successful. It has more than 100 million active users worldwide. Actually, if you count daily visitors to the website, Orkut is second only to Facebook (although a far second), largely thanks to Orkut’s very active user base in Brazil and India.

Google Maps

Aside from being the most widely used map service on the Web and incorporated with a ton of different web services, it’s also the dominating map service used on smartphones. Apple uses Google Maps for iOS, and Android is heavily integrated with Google’s products in general, including maps.

Gmail

Google’s email service is estimated to have around 200 million users.

Google Apps

Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar, and the other web apps under the Google Apps umbrella (which also includes Gmail) are increasingly popular. We haven’t seen any user numbers, but they are bound to be significant.

Android

Google’s Android OS is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone platform with 350,000 new devices activated per day (over 10 million per month). Android very much acts as a platform for Google’s other properties, like maps, email, search, etc.

Chrome

Google’s web browser is gaining market share rapidly in spite of having been available just a few years. According to StatCounter, it currently has 17% of the web browser market.

Other intangibles

Google has so many different services that it’s hard to get a grip on them all. To the ones we’ve already listed, we’d like to quickly add a few more:

  • Feedburner, the world’s largest RSS feed service.
  • Google Reader, the world’s most popular RSS reader.
  • Google Analytics, the world’s most widely used website analytics product
  • And all those ad products: Adsense, Adwords, DoubleClick, Admob, etc.

So, how big is Google?

Finally, let’s try to estimate how many people use Google’s products and services.

As we already mentioned, we suspect that the user base of Google Search alone is at least a billion. However, since Google is so much more than just search, the company’s products might very well end up touching a majority of the Internet users out there. Really, how long have you been able to use the Internet yourself without using a Google product of some sort?

Even if you subtract China, which again might not be entirely fair to Google, that would put the user base close to 1.5 billion.

So, in short: Google’s entire user base should be somewhere between 1 and 1.5 billion, depending on how conservative you want to be.

This is of course just speculation on our end. There is bound to be a lot of overlap between the user bases for Google’s various products, but we have no way of knowing how much.

Conclusion

Google.com alone would be impressive. Add to it all the other web properties we’ve listed in this article and it quickly becomes obvious that Google is still very much the king of the Internet. They may be having some trouble in social, at least compared with Facebook, but let’s not forget all the other things they do, and do well.



15 comments
robsearch
robsearch

This is why Google is building Google+ as the social hub or backbone for all its services, its powerful stuff.

robsearch
robsearch

This is why Google is building Google+ as the social hub or backbone for all its services, its powerful stuff.

Mike
Mike

I believe Google will always be unbeatable... eventhough Facebook comes closer in competition with Google, we must remember that Facebook is defined as a social network & Google is apparently a search engine. Therefore, both have altogether a different purpose.

Top Web Searches
Top Web Searches

I would go ahead and say that nowadays most blogs have YouTube embedded videos, instead of other services. Blogger is one of the world's largest blogging platforms because it's so easy to use; you just subscribe, while you have to set up WordPress and not many people can do it. Though I am surprised that in another post of yours, from 2009 http://royal.pingdom.com/2009/01/15/the-blog-platforms-of-choice-among-the-top-100-blogs/ you concluded that Blogger owns only 3% from blogging platforms. But I guess you means from those 100 blogs, right? Google is really big and it's still expanding with Chrome and Android!

Xiaoyong
Xiaoyong

shall we start to consider breaking google up? as at one time, ppl was talking about breaking up microsoft as it is too big. now, google might have reached the same point.

Tony Nguyen
Tony Nguyen

Google is big but it doesn't think so. It's trying so hard to break into other revenue streams, all it needs to do is kill the telcos, the skype, the at&t, the networks and utilities to be really big.

Christina
Christina

I think I can sum up my feelings on this in one word, WOW! Google has grown by leaps and bounds, and seeing the many facets of it posted on here shows why it is has done so.

Sean McPheat
Sean McPheat

Yes Google rules the world.....again! It cetainly used "search" as it's homebase and then they have added a whole myriad of other products and services. It will be interesting to see if Facebook and Twitter do they same and whether they ultiize their home base of subscribers to offer other products and services to rival Google. I asked Facebook this morning what happened to their Facebook Ads tracking tools and I received this response: "Thank you for checking in with us, We're no longer going able to offer our conversion tracking beta product. In the past, we have tested this product with a small number of advertisers. While we learned a lot from the beta, our focus is not on building a full featured conversion tracking tool. Our teams will continue to invest in tools that help marketers better understand the effectiveness of ads that are social and include social context from friends, since we know that social context has a very powerful effect on ads' effectiveness. An example of this is our recent launch of social metrics in the Ads Manager" Seems like they know what they want. But do they know what I want?! I want to know whether my Facebook Ads are converting or not - that's the holy grail after all but I will have to use an external software provider to work it out. Sounds crazy to me! One of the best things Google did was Analytics because it shows the internet marketer what is working and what is not. Why won't Facebook do the same? Maybe that's why Google remain the biggest!? Sean Sean McPheat

mrmu
mrmu

amazing, thanks for sharing.

ads1244
ads1244

In this post, there is a mistake on "Chome", I think you want to say "Chrome". Greetz

Pingdom
Pingdom

Argh... Typo. Thanks. Fixed.

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