While Google's national economic impact remains an open question, there is no doubt as to the search giant's online brand supremacy.
Indeed, Google generated $973 million worth of "media value" during the second quarter -- easily beating out fellow tech leaders like Apple and Microsoft -- according to new research from General Sentiment.
Not always top dog, Google regained its lead during the second quarter thanks to positive buzz surrounding strong earnings and the release of Google+.
Apple remained extremely popular in social media, coming in with $894 million of total media value during the second quarter.
Microsoft remained a close third with $690 million of media value, according to General Sentiment. Its acquisition of Skype for $8.5 billion in May, along with its announcement in June regarding the release of the Windows 8 platform next year, represented its key buzz drivers.
However, so did news surrounding the Supreme Court ruling that Microsoft must pay $290 million to a small Toronto-based software company for infringing upon one of its patents inside the Microsoft Word program.
Excelling out of their element, non-technology brands Mercedes-Benz and Ford ranked fourth and fifth on General Sentiment's list of brands that had the most significant impact online during the second quarter. Moreover, this was the third consecutive quarter that Ford made it into the top five.
"The tech sector continues to drive the top 10 brands as consumers tend to follow these companies closely and discuss new technology products heavily in social media sources," said General Sentiment CEO Greg Artzt. "However, new product innovations and strong earnings are driving brand value for non-tech companies."
Media value for the German luxury car manufacturer rose along with its popularity in China, according to Artzt. Despite a recall on the M-class vehicles in April, growing wealth in China boosted demand for the S-Class sedan, helping bolster the auto manufacturer's first-quarter operating profit by 71%. Mercedes also unveiled its 2012 model of the SLS AMG supercar at the end of May, generating millions of dollars in social media value.
Ford also remained strong, gaining attention for its fuel-efficient Ford Fiesta -- recording one of its best first quarters since 1998. The automaker also received its fair share of negative buzz related to consumer complaints about the MyFord Touch and a slip in the J.D. Power ratings, while comments about the EcoBoost engine were largely positive.
Big brand losers during the second quarter included Johnnie Walker, Ikea, Allianz, Hermès and eBay.
After being named the most popular scotch brand in the world last quarter, Johnnie Walker's Perception Value dropped to $132,000. The overall sentiment of the brand was still largely positive, although sentiment was not as overwhelmingly positive as it was during the first quarter.
Looking ahead, General Sentiment expects Apple to get a big boost in media value during the third quarter with the much-anticipated launch of the iPhone 5.
To arrive at media values, General Sentiment measures the purchase equivalent value of a brand's exposure, as determined by the sentiment, frequency and exposure of news mentions and social dialogue. Brands are then ranked using two metrics developed by General Sentiment to generate top 10 rankings in three categories, including brand impact, biggest winners and biggest losers.