NEW YORK: Google, Apple and Microsoft are the brands currently generating the most online buzz among consumers and official news providers, a study has shown.

General Sentiment, the analytics firm, assessed the equivalent purchase value of a brand's internet "impact", based on sentiment, frequency and exposure ratings from across the web.

Google, the online giant, secured media coverage worth $757m in the second quarter of 2012 on this metric. This was broken down into $237m from news sources, $322m on social media and $198m on Twitter.

The main subjects of this material included its annual development conference, where the Nexus 7 tablet was unveiled, alongside the launch of Google Glass, its digitally-connected eyewear prototype.

Apple, the consumer electronics manufacturer, took second spot on $594m, a figure which was down from 980m during the previous three months.

Its high-profile court case with Samsung, allegations of ebook price-fixing and criticisms by Piper Jaffray, the investment bank, of its Siri voice-recognition tool kept the firm in the headlines, with mixed results.

"New and improved products propelled Google to number one this quarter, but Apple fell behind due to negative buzz surrounding Siri's shortcomings," Ari Kahn, CEO of General Sentiment, said.

Microsoft, the IT group, occupied third in the rankings on $356m. The majority of this total, some $210m was drawn from social media, possibly linked to its purchase of Yammer, an enterprise social networking service, for $1.2bn.

Completing the top five were Amazon, the online retail pioneer, on $331m, and Hewlett-Packard, the IT company, on $258m. Samsung was next on $206m, ahead of fellow electronics expert Sony on $176m.

Disney, the entertainment conglomerate, logged $147m, with FedEx, the delivery specialist, on $142m, and Yahoo, the web platform, on $141m.

"The technology sector continues to dominate the Impact Media Value list, claiming eight of the top ten spots," added Kahn. In terms of the growth in positive buzz, however, FedEx led among the large players, up 95.9% quarter on quarter.

When isolating the scores for sentiment alone, AXA, the insurance group, saw the greatest quarterly improvement, as the value yielded by favourable mentions rose 110.3% quarter on quarter, to $86,275.

Data sourced from General Sentiment; additional content by Warc staff