(Pew Research Center) Search engines and social networks rule the online world pretty much everywhere you look. But while Google and Facebook dominate in most of the world, several countries — notably China, Russia and their neighbors — have resisted their hegemony.
This map, developed by two researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute, uses Internet traffic data from Alexa to determine each country’s most-visited website; each country is scaled to reflect how many Internet users it has. Google was the most-visited site throughout most of North America, Europe, south Asia and Australasia, while Facebook predominates in the Spanish-speaking parts of the America, the Middle East and North Africa.
But beyond those two Internet giants, other companies — often with overt or implicit aid from their national governments — have carved out their own bastions. Baidu is the most-used search engine not only in its home country of China but apparently in South Korea too (though the Oxford researchers express some skepticism about that). Yahoo! Japan leads in that country; Yahoo! also is the most-visited site in Taiwan (though it announced earlier this year that it will shut down the Taiwanese blogging site Wretch it bought six years ago).
Yandex is the most-visited site in Russia, with about three-fifths of that country’s search traffic. Social-networking service VK (formerly known as VKontakte) is especially popular among Russian speakers and is the leading site in Belarus; email service Mail.ru is the leader in Kazakhstan.
Nonetheless, Google’s reach is even greater than the map shows. As the Oxford researchers note, among the 50 countries where Facebook is listed as the most-visited visited site, Google is the second-most visited in 36; the remaining 14 countries list YouTube, which Google has owned since 2006.
(Special thanks to data-visualization blog FlowingData, where we first saw this map.)