It's a Googly World: A Map of the Planet's Most Visited Websites by Country

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A website-visualization firm Webempires has created this map showing the number-one websites around the world, as calculated by traffic-tracking company Alexa. As the picture makes clear, Google dominates, with Facebook trailing not too far behind.

But a quick dive into Alexa's statistics shows less of a divide: By a long shot, most of the countries where Google is number one, Facebook is number two, and vice versa, although YouTube, a Google property, makes a pretty good showing too (number two in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Armenia, for examples). When it comes to the very top of the traffic picture, there is not a whole lot of variation globally. What stands out more than the Facebook/Google line are the true outliers -- particularly China with its heavy government regulation, whose list of top websites bares the least resemblance to rest of the globe, with the top four slots all belonging to China-specific sites (Baidu.com, QQ.com, Taobao.com, and sina.com.cn).

Of course, saying that Google and Facebook dominate around the world is a lot like saying trees and grasses are the dominant plant. Google is a search portal; where it brings you depends on what you put in. Facebook's content is the work of your friends and family, the very opposite of a monolith that would look the same regardless who logged in. And that's what's most interesting about the map above: The homogeneity masks the diversity; the top websites are the places we make our own.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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