As the clock winds down on 2011, US research firm Nielsen has shared via its blog a collection of the most popular digital destinations of the past year. The company's Tops of 2011 — ranked by average monthly number of unique visits on home and work PCs — contains few surprises, though the ordering here proves rather intriguing.

By Nielsen's figures, Google was the most frequented US web brand (people still use search, after all) followed by Facebook and Yahoo!; Apple places ninth behind Microsoft, the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, and Wikipedia. Though Mark Zuckerberg and Co. must settle for second in overall visitors, Facebook maintains its commanding lead in the social networking realm, with Blogger and Twitter lagging by a wide margin. Color us surprised to find that MySpace still musters a decent showing, coming in fifth ahead of LinkedIn, Tumblr, and recent entrant Google+. YouTube sits atop the hottest video sites while music video joint venture VEVO takes second. Seeing Hulu (7) and Netflix (10) near the bottom may at first glance be unexpected, yet it bears repeating that data was tallied from home and work computers, leaving the plethora of additional devices compatible with those streaming services unaccounted for. In any event, the data serves as an interesting snapshot of the internet as it was in 2011.