Google Glass, driverless cars, smart contacts, artificial intelligence. A year of investments and announcements related to all of these ventures propelled Google past the most valuable brand from the last three years, Apple, to capture its place as the new most valuable brand in the world.
A new report from Millward Brown Optimor found that Google increased its brand value by 40 percent from last year to $159 billion.
"Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars," said Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor, in a press release. "All of this activity sends a very strong signal to consumers about what Google is about and it has coincided with a slowdown at Apple."
And with the news that Google plans to place ads in some unusual places (think refrigerators, cars, thermostats) in the coming years, the Google brand could penetrate deeper into our lives.
Meanwhile, Apple's brand value dropped 20 percent from last year. And while it's still the second most valuable brand in the world, its value is slipping because of "growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers," according to the report.
Three other trends from the report:
Technology brands are dominant: They represent 29 percent of the value of the top 100 brands.
Rise of Chinese tech brands: Tencent saw the biggest one year gain, growing its brand value 97 percent to reach the 14th position.
Apparel is fastest growing category: the top 10 apparel brands grew 29 percent.
Here are the top 10 most valuable brands worldwide:
Google ($159 billion)
Apple ($148 billion)
IBM ($108 billion)
Microsoft ($90 billion)
McDonald's ($86 billion)
Coca-Cola ($81 billion)
Visa ($79 billion)
AT&T ($78 billion)
Marlboro ($67 billion)
Amazon ($64 billion)
The report says it takes into account "views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data" to determine a company's brand value.