Google vs. Apple: It’s a Popularity Contest

Google

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scobleizer/

The world of business is dense with the annoying kind of academic economic problems that nobody wants to deal with but most people can’t ignore. For example, if there are two similar restaurants right next door to each other, and one has a decent number of people sitting down and eating and the other is barren, which one are you, a hungry consumer, likely to visit? Most people would distrust the empty restaurant. Another example: imagine you are shopping for something on Amazon.com, and two different vendors offer what appears to be the same item. The items have the same customer rating, but one of them has many more total reviews than the other. Which vendor are you more likely to purchase from?

For better or worse, popularity is often used as a proxy for things like quality, or the relative goodness of something. This is annoying for both individuals and businesses for a couple of reasons, but it is also convenient. You can’t walk into most restaurants and ask for a sample before deciding whether or not to stay for a meal, and given the choice, most people prefer to minimize the chances of them purchasing a defective product.

It’s not perfect, but it’s what happens, and it is a core part of the consumer electronics market where just the popularity of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), or Samsung (SSNLF.PK) can have an impact on consumer behavior. With this in mind, it feels natural to ask the mirror: who’s the most popular of them all?

The answer, according to Dow Jones, is Google. As per a study conducted by the organization, Google scored a total 123,769 mentions from the media in 2013. This compares against 120,451 for Apple, and 84,174 for Microsoft. Samsung didn’t appear to make the list, but Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and the company formerly known as Research in Motion (NASDAQ:BBRY) get honorable mentions with 29,935 and 29,638 mentions, respectively.

According to Google Trends (we’re assuming there’s no real bias here), Google was the most-searched-for Fortune 500 company, followed by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), then followed by Apple. Looking at stock searches specifically, Facebook was the most popular, followed by Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Google, and BlackBerry. Apple didn’t make the top 10 on this one.

Looking at Tech Gadgets as a category, Apple takes three out of the top five spots and five out of the top ten, although Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) Playstation 4 took the top spot and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 took number two. The iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPad Air take three through five. As far as the most popular phones are concerned, the people have voted with their searches, and the people say the iPhone 5s takes the crown. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 comes in number two, followed by the iPhone 5C, the HTC One, and the Nexus 5.

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