Fascinating Number: Google Is Now Bigger Than Netflix, Facebook And Twitter Combined


Worstall, Tim

July 23, 2013

This rather takes the breath away: Google is now, on average, 25% of all North American internet traffic.  That’s a truly astonishing number. So is this next one:

Well over half of all devices connected to the internet are sending traffic to Google’s servers on any one day.

The report comes from Deepfield (and is clearly a bit of PR for their internet monitoring services):

While it is old news that Google is BIG , the sheer scale and dominance of Google in the Internet infrastructure has significant implications on network design and evolution. When we last published some large-scale measurements in 2010, Google represented (a now seemingly small) 6% of Internet traffic. Today, Google now accounts for nearly 25% of Internet traffic on average.

They point out that Netflix does indeed have higher bandwidth available but this is really only used to any sort of capacity during evening prime time (of course, that’s when people watch TV and movies) and when their caches update in the early morning.

Google’s traffic is more evenly spread and when added up it’s larger than that of Facebook, Twitter and Netflix combined.

We should note that this isn’t Google’s search engine traffic by the way. This also includes all of the ad serving and that’ll be a hefty portion of traffic in itself. Plus all the people using Google Analytics and so on and websites do indeed make repeated calls to Google over such analytics. So it is the entirety of Google related traffic, not just the parts that we usually think about like the search engine.

The Register makes an apposite comment on this story:

What matters, of course, is that Google can turn this traffic into money at a faster rate than its network costs. In last week’s financial results, the company reported healthy profits, but also a rise in capital expenditure to $1.6bn and falling cost-per-click revenues.

Google has to pay for this traffic of course. Even if not directly for the bits and bytes, it’s certainly got to pay for the engineering and infrastructure to keep it all flowing. Which means that it has to continually find ways to improve the monetization of it. The first time this survey was done Google was only 6% of internet traffic: now it’s 25% and total traffic has increased over this past three years as well. It’s not quite Red Queen territory but they do have to keep running in order to keep up with their costs.

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