Traffic to Google sites accounted for a record-breaking 6.4% of all internet traffic in September, according to data from Arbor Networks. This is up from 5.4% in January and a mere 1.2% in June 2007. Google's traffic is growing "considerably faster" than the internet's as a whole, with Arbor estimating that its share often peaks at closer to 7% and could be as high as 10% if traffic offloaded by its global cache deployment were counted. "If Google were an ISP, as of this month it would rank as the second largest carrier on the planet," says Arbor chief scientist Craig Labovitz.
The tally includes traffic to all Google's web properties, which include its main Google.com search engine, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps and its suite of online office products. The popularity of YouTube is a key driver. The site serves up an estimated 24 hours of video every minute, and video takes up much more bandwidth than a status update on Facebook or tweet on Twitter.
"While it's not news that Google is big, what is amazing is how much bigger Google continues to get," says Labovitz. "While the business press may debate Google's future, for now Google’s traffic growth continues apace."
Across a number of metrics Google remains the most popular internet destination. According to recent comScore data Google sites ranked as the number one property in the US in September with 180m unique visitors, followed by Yahoo! sites with 178m and Microsoft sites with 165m. However, it faces competition from Facebook, as users now spend more time on the social network than on Google sites.
Google has previously said that long-term increases in mobile internet users will ultimately boost its traffic, claiming this is one of the reasons it entered the mobile operating system market with its Android platform. So far Google's revenue appears to be keeping pace with its traffic, with the firm posting record revenues in Q3 of USD7.29bn, up 23% year on year. Arbor says Google's growth has accompanied an overall increase in internet volumes, with traffic as a whole up by between 40% and 50% since September 2009.