Google leads Apple in global brand ranking; YouTube, Wikipedia in Top 5

MUMBAI: For the second year running, it is internet giant Google that has bagged the top spot ahead of Apple in the annual survey by online branding magazine

New additions to the top five list are recent Google acquisition YouTube and Wikipedia.

Google was Brandchannel's pick for hogging technology headlines throughout 2006; first with its $ 900 million deal with News Corporation to provide service to sites such as MySpace and then the big one when it purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion. But perhaps its most noteworthy brand achievement last year was the addition of the verb "to google" in two major English-language dictionaries, states the online magazine.

Iconic computer label Apple just barely kept back YouTube for the runner-up slot.

Coming in at the fourth spot is the "spreading-like-Google Wikipedia". Interestingly, the backbone of both YouTube and Wikipedia is user-created content.

Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown slowly and steadily to become the premier online research tool.

For perennial Asia-Pacific winner Sony, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Gamers drooled at the release of the long-awaited PlayStation 3 game console, and Sony's digital camera, mobile phone, and film divisions (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby drove in $162 million worldwide) were successful. But laptop users were inconvenienced (or, in some cases, risked burns) by malfunctioning Sony-made batteries. Companies including Apple, Toshiba, Dell, and Lenovo recalled millions of these power cells, resulting in a second-quarter net-income loss of 94 percent.

Toyota is Toyota so no surprises there really except over how Sony stayed ahead of it, considering the kind of year the electronics giant had. Toyota is on target to become the world's largest automaker this year.

Coming in behind Toyota is multinational bank HBSC cashing in at third place, its highest ranking ever. Number four and five are Samsung and Honda.

More than 3,600 people from 99 countries voted in the 2006 poll. The greatest number of voters fell in the age range of 26 to 35 year olds, with an almost equal number of men and women. Voters claiming employment with actual brands as opposed to agencies was greater by half.

Respondents per region were: 3,625 for Global; 1,595 for US & Canada; 1,420 for Asia-Pacific; 1,358 for Europe & Africa; and 581 for Latin America.

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