Google Is No Longer The World’s Most Visited Site

By Nathan Kamal | 7 seconds ago

Google antitrust

In what may be a significant milestone for the internet, Google was surpassed as the most visited online site in 2021. According to storage software company Cloudflare, the social media app TikTok was the single most popular website for the year. Google ranked second, while Facebook came in third. Predictably, the rest of the list included mega-companies like Apple, Amazon and Netflix. What the dethroning of Google means in the long run will remain to be seen, but it does feel significant. 

This is the first time that TikTok has knocked Google down a peg on a by-year basis. Over the course of 2021, TikTok frequently ranked as the number one most visited site. This is an enormous leap in popularity for the app, which never previously ranked higher than seventh place. The app was created by Chinese tech startup ByteDance, which also developed a popular Chinese TikTok analog called Douyin. ByteDance is also currently working to monetize the underlying tech of TikTok, which would possibly create competitors for its popularity in the coming years. So if you’re using TikTok now and feel youthful, be ready to feel old again in probably six months. 

For an app that primarily began as a video-sharing service, TikTok has rapidly become  controversial. Although it has only been around since 2016, TikTok became a cultural lightning rod almost immediately. While it does not have the near-universal recognition of Google, it is considered to be one of the quickest growing brands in the world. Initially, TikTok was noted for its popularity among Generation Z, and became a popular tool for social media influencers. It was also swiftly mired in social controversy, both as a company and for the behavior of its users. Beyond that, it also became a talking point in the ongoing debate on cultural appropriation. In particular, popular TikTok users like Charli D’Amelio broke through into mainstream media, while being accused of ripping off viral dances from people of color (per The Daily Show). 

While Google remained a relatively innocuous presence in popular culture (despite Congressional action), TikTok became an unlikely political firestorm. In 2020, the app became the target of former President Donald Trump’s ire. The social media site was accused of being a national security threat to the United States, due to its collection of personal data. It was at one point outright banned by the US Army and Navy for use on government-issued devices. Former President Trump threatened to issue an executive order to essentially ban the app in the US. Predictably, this caused a backlash with users of the incredibly popular app.  

tiktok

Despite its drop in the rankings of visited sites, Google still remains one of the most popular sites in the world. Its parent company Alphabet is one of the three most powerful technology companies in the world, and while TikTok is clearly an up and coming site, it will take a lot more than this to overtake it. So, in the meantime, let’s just chill out with this: