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Russian beats German as internet’s second most-used language

Published time: March 24, 2013 09:55
Edited time: March 24, 2013 11:45
AFP Photo/Alain Jocard

AFP Photo/Alain Jocard

While English rules supreme in the online domain, the second spot among the most used languages on the internet has changed hands. Russian replaces German, with the country’s penetration growing fast.

Both Russian and German are used on 5.9 per cent of all websites with Russian slightly ahead, according to a web survey by the data collecting website W3Techs. Following them are Spanish (4.7 per cent), French (4.5 per cent) and Chinese (4.4 per cent). English remains the lingua franca of the net, with 54.7 per cent of websites using it.

“If we look at the trend in the last few years, is seems very likely that Russian will stay at rank #2 for a while. Chinese would of course be the logical candidate to move up that far, but we don't see that yet in the statistics,” the website says.

Russian is the most popular language in country-code domains of former republics of the Soviet Union. At least three quarters and up to almost nine-tenths of websites there are in Russian. The same goes for the .su, the domain of the ex-USSR itself, which is supposed to be phased out but continues to grow.

Interestingly, Russian is not that popular on top sites. Only six of the 1,000 most-visited spots on the web are in Russian. In this regard it falls behind not only English, but also Chinese, French, German and Japanese, the report says.

Some 64.4 million adult Russians, or 55 per cent of the total adult population, used the internet at least once a month as of the end of 2012, according to a recent poll. The number grew by 11 per cent over the year. The majority, 78 per cent, of internet users in Russia go online daily.