By most measures, the Web has never been a more vibrant place for communication, content consumption and commerce.
Indeed, a record 278 million U.S. consumers had Internet access as of last month, according to new estimates from Nielsen.
Among those connected consumers, about 215 million were actually active online -- spending nearly 29 hours on average browsing the Web.
In August, Google remained the top Web brand by total domestic audience with about 176 million unique visitors, while Facebook came in a close second with 158 million visitors during the month.
Helping Google’s cause -- thanks to YouTube -- 164 million U.S. consumers watched online video in August. According to Nielsen, they spent about seven hours of the month viewing content, streaming more than 27 billion videos.
YouTube, an operating unit of Google, was the top online video destination, with more than four out of five of the total viewers streaming videos from their site.
Compared to a year ago, the Top 10 Web brands list remained the same, except for the addition of IAC’s Ask Search Network.
Looking to the holidays, Nielsen reports that the country’s gadget obsession is driving hordes of eager consumers to technology news sites and blogs.
In fact, more than one in four online consumers visited computer/consumer electronics news sites in August 2012 -- totaling over 60 million unique visitors to sites in this category during the month.
NetShelter Technology Media’s network of consumer electronics sites -- which includes RedOrbit, MacRumors, Slashgear, and Fixya -- topped the list with a total of 21 million unique visitors in August.
CNet ranked second with more than 19 million uniques to their sites in August, followed by like Mashable, Lifehacker and Wired.