comScore Networks has today revealed which Web properties were the most popular, ranked by way of total unique visitors over the age of 15 and across the month, during December 2006.

According to the comScore analysis, Internet usage increased 10 percent between December 2005 and 2006, with the search and navigation category containing the top three sites and growing by 9 percent overall. Interestingly, while Microsoft topped the hot property table it only grew by 5 percent worldwide, the same as Yahoo! which placed third overall. Google, second in the overall list, saw the biggest spike with 13 percent global growth for the year. When looked at in terms of the top gaining categories for 2006, search, multimedia, community, email and games lead the way and present no real surprises.

"Google’s popularity has been driven in part by its international appeal as well as the rapid uptake of some of Google’s applications beyond traditional Web search," said Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe. "Examples include the 40-percent year-over-year growth in visitors to Google Image Search, the 71-percent growth in visitors to Gmail, and the 62-percent growth in visitors to Google Maps."

Here are the results in full:

Top Global Web Properties

  1. Microsoft Sites (508,659,000)
  2. Google Sites (494,170,000)
  3. Yahoo! Sites (476,761,000)
  4. Time Warner Network (260,387,000)
  5. eBay (251,423,000)
  6. Wikipedia Sites (164,675,000)
  7. Amazon Sites (151,033,000)
  8. Fox Interactive Media (135,730,000)
  9. CNET Networks (114,940,000)
  10. Ask Network (113,881,000)
  11. Apple Computer, Inc. (111,131,000)
  12. Adobe Sites (100,421,000)
  13. Lycos, Inc. (83,724,000)
  14. Viacom Digital (76,171,000)
  15. New York Times Digital (68,010,000)

Top Gaining Categories in 2006

  1. Multimedia (37 percent)
  2. Community (33 percent)
  3. E-mail (16 percent)
  4. News/Information (15 percent)
  5. Games (14 percent)