SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) _ A new report by Nielsen Online has found that nearly a third of the time Americans spend online is devoted to social networking sites and online games, while time spent on conventional email and sites such as Yahoo has declined.

The report titled “What Americans Do Online” showed that Americans now spend more time playing games like “FarmVille” rather than handling email, in part because millions are staying in touch on Facebook rather than communicating on services such as Yahoo Mail or Google’s Gmail.

Internet users on average are spending more than six hours per month on social networking sites and more than four hours per month playing online games. Users also spent an average of 14 hours per month online at news, entertainment and other sites.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Silicon Valley companies topped every sector encompassed by Nielsen’s research.

Yahoo ranked as the number one portal, ahead of MSN and Google and was also the leading provider of email and instant messaging services.

The research found that Google handily led the search category and YouTube led the video/movie sector.

Electronic Arts, Apple’s iTunes, eBay and Craigslist were also at or near the top in their respective categories.

Nielsen’s research tracked 200,000 Internet users and compared June 2009 to June 2010. Overall, the combination of social networks and online games are consuming 32.9 percent of Internet time, up from 25.1 percent a year ago.


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