Since Google (in the study mentioned above) is the only one to have performed a field analysis with a sufficiently large population size, (more than one hundred thousand disk drives) it would be interesting to know which drives they now purchase.
Any IT flies on Google's walls out there have some comments?
Unfortunately for the rest of us, they were unable to name names of manufacturers (or specific models) with the results. Instead (frustratingly) they confirm what we all already know, namely that "Failure rates are known to be highly correlated with drive models, manufacturers and vintages."
I tend to agree with JFV above - there are good drive models for manufacturers and bad drive models for the same manufacturer. Things change over the years too. It is therefore better to focus on models rather than manufacturers or brands.
Pay attention to warranty offered and anecdotal feedback on specific models from the likes of newegg, tigerdirect, amazon.
As the Google study seems to confirm, posted MTBF is often less informative than many people assume.