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Services that compare website traffic are important to the industry because they provide context for how a site is faring. However, many sites claim these measurement services have incorrect data for them (here’s some sample criticism), and that’s not helped by the fact that all of the services seem to have different data.

You likely know the big players: Alexa and Compete. Then there are the premium services: Hitwise and comScore.

Now a new cowboy is riding into town — and he’s arguably the best gunslinger in the Wild West: Google.

Google has launched a new feature for its Trends service that lets you compare websites, according to Search Engine Land. You can now get a graphical representation of how a site is doing in terms of unique visitors versus other sites.

Google’s service gathers its numbers a bit differently than other traffic comparison sites. It looks at the search volume for a site, anonymous Google Analytics statistics and “other third-party market research,” which again, seems a bit vague for a site trying to put out credible data.

The service offers other information as well. It will show the popular regions for particular domains, which other sites people have visited and what search terms people have used in order to get to that site.

It will take a bit of time and some testing to know just how accurate Google’s entry into the site- comparison world is, but Google usually has good data, and this field really needs a clear authority.

Below you can see a chart comparing Facebook and MySpace. You’ll notice that Facebook passed MySpace sometime in late 2007 according to Google Trends.

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