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Google beats Apple again in global brand rankings

Commentary: The 2017 BrandZ rankings are out, and tech companies continue to dominate. Google is at the top for the second year running.

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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In America, we only care about winners.

Second is first loser. Third is second loser. So when this year's BrandZ global rankings came out, I'm sure armchair speculators were gasping to see which brand is the most valuable in the world.

For the second year running, Google beat Apple for the top spot in this competition conceived by research company Kantar Millward Brown. 

Apple came second last year, too, after being No. 1 from 2010-2014 and again in 2015. Cue the alarms. Press the panic buttons. Apple is falling. 

Worse, this study says Apple's brand value went up by three percent last year, to $234.7 billion, while Google's grew by seven percent, to $245.6 billion.

What might have led to this? A certain lack of excitement about Apple's products, perhaps? It's hard to be exciting and global at the same time. And why might Google seem more interesting? Perhaps people are seeing self-driving cars and salt cruet-shaped Home device as futuristically pulsating.

Microsoft held steady at No. 3, where it's been for the last three years. However, this slightly resurgent brand -- think the gorgeous Surface Studio, for example -- enjoyed a brand value leap of 18 percent. 

Tech companies dominated this league table, complied on the basis of 3 million customer interviews in 51 different countries. Kantar Millward Brown says it collects no less than 4.6 million data points from these interviews. 

You might wonder, however, which brand is the most likely to challenge these three mainstays of global presence. If you believe these data points, the answer is Amazon.

The online gobbler of all that is retail rose three places to No. 4 and saw its brand value rise by a stunning 41 percent. Just five years ago, it was struggling to keep its place in the top 20. 

Google, Apple and Amazon didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The sheer scale of the top five, however -- Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook -- represents 25 percent of the total brand value of the top 100. 

You might be cheered that YouTube, Snap and Netflix all appeared in that top 100 for the first time. 

You might also be troubled that five large tech companies seem to hold such powerful sway over human feelings -- which, let's face it, are at the core of these brand valuations.

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