Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are among the world’s biggest and most profitable technology companies. But they still lag behind Facebook when it comes to brand ubiquity. Confused or surprised? General Sentiments, which ranks companies based on their combined value in news media, social media, and Twitter, ranked Facebook on the top spot, followed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

The Q3 2012 Global Brands Media Value Report by General Sentiments says it included Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in its ranking for the first time, and it immediately jumped to the top. Facebook’s combined “impact media value” is estimated at $751 million.

Let me explain what “impact media value” really is. It is based on the publicity theory that “all news is good news”, that means General Sentiments has considered favorable as well as unfavorable mentions about the companies to assess their value. Mark Zuckerberg & Co. has been on the forefront of people’s mind since the Facebook IPO debacle, and the constantly plunging stock prices. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is now selling at almost half of its IPO value. The mishandled IPO did Facebook a favor by keeping it in the news and fetching the top spot in the ubiquity of brands. It also gained some eyeballs when Mark Zuckerberg made his first public appearance after the much-hyped (but failed) IPO and announced the search engine plan.

Google was on the top last quarter, with an estimated $756 million worth of mentions. This quarter it plunged to third place, while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) occupied second spot. Google fetched attention during the launch of much-anticipated iPhone 5 because of the criticism of iOS 6 Map. Many analysts suggested Apple should have kept Google Maps in its iPhones. Apple’s CEO immediately apologized for errors in the Maps app. Google was also a buzzword when it released Google Glass.

In fact, Apple gained in ranking, primarily because of the maps debacle and iPhone 5. In the third quarter, it has $657 million in impact media value (IMV).

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be the king of rumors. Google may remain in the spotlight because of always entering the new markets or being hit by some government or the other. But when it comes to user outrage, privacy disasters or mishandling of the IPO, Facebook beats them both with a wide margin.

And yes, it looks like the hiring of Marissa Mayer as the new CEO didn’t do much to increase brand recognition of Yahoo. It still remains at 10th spot with $117 million in IMV.