Google is, for more online denizens, irreplaceable. Internet users log into the Gmail in the morning, they use Google Search throughout the day, and as necessary dabble in Google Books, Maps, News, Photos, and Translate. It’s no surprise then that Google, as a domain, has long been the more popular than any other. That’s no longer true, however, as of late 2021. Google has been overtaken by an app built for short, funny videos. TikTok is now the top-ranked domain on the internet.
The report comes from Cloudflare’s end-of-year review, which breaks down all things internet. Cloudflare explains that while Google may have dominated 2020, 2021 has been something completely different. TikTok won its first day on February 17, then claimed several more during March and May. By August, TikTok was winning more days against Google than it was losing to it, a trend that’s persisted through November and particularly strongly in December.
A similar report from Cloudflare made for the end of 2020 shows how dramatic TikTok’s climb has been. In late 2020, TikTok tracked as the seventh most popular domain. It placed below Amazon and above YouTube. At the time, Facebook was firmly in place below Google as the second most popular domain, though it rarely overtook Google. While TikTok did surge for a time prior to November 2020, it wasn’t until February where it truly surged, followed by drops in May and July each followed by additional surges.
The social media landscape hasn’t otherwise changed significantly outside of TikTok’s rapid growth. Just below Tiktok are Facebook and YouTube. Below those two platforms comes Twitter, which climbed above Instagram since 2020 and is the only other position swap of the top ten. Then, unchanged from 2020, there’s Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Quora. Quora, notably, fell dramatically out of the top 100 overall domains of the year. Keep an eye on LinkedIn in 2022, though, as it saw impressive growth through 2021.
To answer the question as to why TikTok great to become the top domain of 2021, one need only look at TikTok itself. The video platform features unique, incredibly popular content every single day. It’s a mix of not just celebrities, but legitimate news and events, viral jokes and other examples of creativity, and everything in-between.
Whether TikTok can hold onto the top position in 2022 is another matter entirely. TikTok relies heavily on the viral popularity of its content to keep users coming back. As anyone online could say, viral popularity comes and goes. There’s also the political controversy surrounding TikTok, due to its alleged history of censoring political content, that could become an issue again in the future. For now, however, TikTok overtaking Google as the most popular domain to close out 2021 is another meaningful moment in internet history.