Search overlord Google tops reputation poll -

A worldwide survey into the most reputable companies threw up a rather surprising winner – Google.

Could that be the same Google which has mapped the planet, gathering private data without consent, all without any repercussions? It could.

That would be the same monopoly which is able to use its massive power to throw its weight around at government level.

Or Google the dodgy drug dealer; or despoiler of news; or environment defiler; and so on and so forth.

All of which makes Google’s own ‘don’t be evil’ mantra a touch rich.

Even the Chinese government has been having a go at Google for being too evil recently.

As brands go, we'd have thought Google is the comic pantomime villain of the world, hell-bent on world domination by rifling through your rubbish bins while diverting attention with its highly useful maps and search.

However, according to the Reputation Institute, it's Google which somehow comes out on top in the global reputation stakes.

Second was the slavishly followed Apple, with Disney in third place. Then there was BMW, LEGO, Sony, Daimler, Canon, Intel and Volkswagen.

The Reputation Institute says the better you are respected the more cash shall flow into your coffers, with “better-rated companies enjoy a 9 percent return on assets, compared to lesser-rated companies who earn a 6 percent return on assets”.

Showing that for Google at least, it pays to be a little bit evil.