Resource Center

Resource Pages


How to Build Digital Influence


How to Build a Business


Industry Reports


HP’s Palm Acquisition Could Make it a Strong Mobile Competitor

Palm PDA’s were the first inkling of smartphones to come, and at one point had Palm riding high in the tech world. But in 2010, Palm struggled to keep up with its competitors in the mobile market. After much speculation over the future of Palm, the company was acquired by popular tech giant Hewlett-Packard for $1.2 billion. Though HP has virtually no experience with mobile devices, this acquisition may be a sign that HP is gearing up to try its hand at mobile computing.


With the power of HP now behind Palm, the struggling brand may have a fighting chance at a comeback, with better products and a new image. While the iPhone spoke to creatives, Blackberry to business professionals and Droid to tech geeks, Palm struggled to corner a market niche. Additionally, soon after the Palm Pre was released, reviews of the device showed that its hardware was riddled with problems. With many Palm devices only available on Sprint — the #3 wireless carrier, almost 40 million subscribers behind #2 AT&T — Palm devices quickly lost steam.

CNN reports that HP is currently the biggest computing company in the world, known for making quality, lasting products. HP remains successful despite much competition from Dell, and since 2006 has held it’s spot as the world’s leading PC laptop provider. Turning this same technology to mobile devices, HP can reinvent the Palm brand and make it a more quality product — and its dominance in the tech market can help Palm even more. When it comes time to reposition Palm, HP will have more pull with wireless carriers, allowing Palm devices to reach a much wider audience and make it a more competitive product.

In addition to mobile devices, HP ownership of WebOS could mean big things for its long-awaited Slate tablet. Though Microsoft software is being used for the Slate’s first release, future releases could see a WebOS-enabled version as well, potentially offering an entirely different user experience. Having WebOS power Slate’s system could not only ensure the tablet could contend with the iPad and other tablet devices, but would also be a great way to introduce the OS to users who haven’t been exposed to it before. HP has the perfect opportunity to have WebOS directly compete with the iPhone OS and Android, both of which are being used across multiple devices. PCWorld’s Tony Bradley makes a similar point, writing:

“HP can leverage WebOS to change that, though. The iPad is built on the iPhone mobile OS, which compares directly with WebOS and Android, not with Windows or Mac OS X. Palm’s origins in the PDA market make its WebOS platform a natural fit for a tablet to compete with the iPad–the evolution of the PDA concept.”

Even with all of the potential Palm holds for HP, the company still has a lot of work ahead of it. Currently, Palm only holds a small share of the mobile computing market, a weak 6.1 percent compared to RIM’s 41 percent. To truly compete, HP needs to reinvent Palm devices while continuing to provide users with features unmatched by its competitors. 2010 has been a big year for mobile – Sprint’s first 4G device was revealed, a new BlackBerry OS is on its way, and the iPhone 4.0 is due to go on sale in June. HP is well positioned to fit right into this timeline, hopefully bringing Palm back to its former glory.

How to Work Multi-Dimensional

St. Ignazio church in Rome features some of the early multi-dimensional artists that used depth of field to push their craft to new heights (literally). It is multi-dimensional thinking that pushes a craft or profession to the outer limits and revolutionizes what is possible. When we allow ourselves the freedom to explore new ideas, revolutionary change occurs.

Too often we are bound to one dimensional thinking; too often we ask, “what can fit inside this frame?” Consider in-flight entertainment. When JetBlue incorporated TVs into seat head rests, it changed consumer’s expectations of what a flight should be. Advertising is full of out-of-the-box thinking. It can be as simple as “wazzzzz-ap” or clever as a yoga instructor on a straw.

To further illustrate multi-dimensional thinking, I stumbled across this incredible video that embodies many of the key characteristics of multi-dimensional thinking:

How does this video work in multi-dimensions:

Scrap and Start Anew — The artists that created this video were not afraid to scrap and paint over time intensive and intricate designs.

Be Ruthless — Be ruthless and re-examine what is possible. As you can see, this video incorporates many artistic styles that make it fascinating and unique.

Be Cohesive — It’s not enough to just throw random ideas at a wall and hopefully one will stick. It’s about having a clear mission and statement. Just because Revlon wants to paint a mural in make-up doesn’t mean it’s right for them. This video uses a motion and layers to create a cohesive and interesting story.

Be Off-the-wall — Literally. This piece starts on the floor, moves to one wall, then another, to the second floor, then back to the first–circling around the courtyard. One of the most important and unique qualities of this video is it is not bound by one setting.

The value in this video is that it showcases creative thinking that works. It’s about creating layers and multiple dimensions. When you have a new idea, explore it. Don’t dwell on what has been, explore what is possible.

Entrepreneur Interview: Lessons in Free and Digital Community

Chris Anderson points out in his latest book, Free: The Future of Radical Price, we are in an age where internet users can find information for free that was formerly sold for top dollar (think about the newspaper industry). If information is free, how can marketers monetize internet users? What can marketers do to sell information when it can be found elsewhere for no charge?

We spoke with Tara Jacobsen, the founder of Marketing Artfully to learn more about monetizing content. Tara and her team at Marketing Artfully have sold over 125 social networking videos, 10 blogs and worked with countless emerging entrepreneurs through its membership site. How have they done it? When we spoke with Tara, she discussed lessons from her Seth Godin experiment and why she scraps the community model in favor of one-on-one interactions.

What are the lessons you have learned from Seth Godin’s Tribe experiment?

For marketers, there has been a lot of buzz about community sites. At Marketing Artfully, we do not promote forums for our members to engage with each other. We have a strictly one-on-one relationship with our members. In fact, only people our team has met in-person are invited. Why? Seth Godin taught me a very valuable lesson.

Before Seth Godin launched his book, Tribes, he created an experimental community of approximately 3,000 well-known marketers and business professionals. The community thrived at first. After a while, however, it became stale. Community members eventually lost interest after speaking with everyone they wished to. Soon thereafter, Godin opened the exclusive community to many more people and the site completely lost its luster.

We can learn two lessons from Godin’s experimental “tribe” project: 1) unfettered engagement can stagnate the community and 2) opening the community to more than 3,000 members can alienate the “exclusive members.” If you’re going to launch a community it needs to be exclusive or not — the transition from one to the other can alienate users.

How can you monetize your products when users could potentially find them elsewhere for free?

It starts with developing a personal connection with your members, then you must listen to them to identify a market gap. Our team strives to create meaningful relationships with our clients and users, and consequently, about 76 percent of our business is from referrals. There is an element of accountability and personal connection with your community if you have met members in-person. Moreover, members are more willing to pay for your product if they have that connection with you and your brand.

Secondly, you need to listen to your members to identify a market gap, then solve it. If you do this, you’ll have a unique product that can be monetized. For instance, a real estate broker didn’t know how to make a brochure, so Marketing Artfully created a brochure template. Or, an entrepreneurs didn’t understand how to use WordPress, so my team created a WordPress video how-to guide. And every month I host an “ask me anything” conference, where members, clients and I work through challenges in real-time. You cannot find that elsewhere for free.

Image by Alan Luckow from Stock.Xchng

Earth View: Google Maps & Earth Enhance User Experience

Google Maps is the undoubtedly the king of online mapping. With directions for bikers, walkers, public transit users, as well as traffic and street views, Maps can get you anywhere. Now, Google is taking the Maps user experience to the next level with its newly introduced Earth view feature within the Google Maps app. With Earth view, the search giant proves once again that it’s always ahead of the curve, and focused on providing an enriching user experience unmatched by its competitors.

Earth view combines features of the Google Earth downloadable application with the popular browser-based Maps app to give users a true 3D viewing experience. Previously, the Maps app only provided 2D views of selected areas with the Satellite view. Street view added to a more interactive Maps experience, but the feature lacked true 3D. Now, users can discover their surroundings in a whole new way. Even better, the viewing experience is much more fluid for browsers, boasting a smooth fly-through interface and the ability to view buildings from a variety of angles.

Google is always adding and upgrading features on its many apps to make the user experience richer and easier. As one of its most popular apps, Google Maps is continually being updated to provide users with the best product available, and to innovate the entire Web. Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering for Google Geo wrote on Google’s official blog, “Web browsers haven’t exactly been standing still … As their capacity to handle richer applications has steadily grown, our ability to bring Google Earth online has grown along with it.” Google recognized the growth and power of browsers and computing technology, and they’ve found a way to keep up.

Earth view is a great step for Maps, because it will bring users to the application for reasons other than just finding a way from Point A to Point B. Earth view provides awe-inspiring shots of popular buildings and landmarks, built digitally using Google’s Building Maker application. Current hotspot views include the Eifel Tower, Roman Coliseum, Mount Everest, and even the Titanic. Although many of the 3D images are limited, this new view should encourage more users to join in on the development of buildings that have yet to be digitally built for Google Earth. With this technology now available, Google could potentially merge services such as Places with Earth view, giving businesses a one-of-a-kind way to market, brand, and interact with customers.

Though Google Earth is a popular application, the introduction of Earth view may be a sign that Google is fully integrating it into its existing online platform. Google Earth’s standalone service currently offers more features than it’s browser-friendly application – including KML editing, historical imagery, GPS tracks, tour-creation, Mars, Sky, flight simulator – but Google could easily introduce these features to the browser platform in the near future. Considering Google’s focus on cloud computing and Web-based platforms, a move such as this seems more than likely. Google’s focus on an enriched user experience is what keeps them on top, and the competition on their toes.

How Livestong Engages its Online Health Community

Most of us came to know of Livestrong through the yellow bracelets worn on 70 million wrists to raise awareness for and fund cancer research and education. What started as a yellow bracelet dreamed up by Nike and their ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, transformed the Livestrong brand into a symbol of hope and a community of support. Today, more than 3.3 million visitors get involved at every month.

The health lifestyle brand offers a rich community resource for members to improve daily living habits. Through community support groups, interactive tools and practical information, Livestrong has cultivated a sizable user-base of passionate individuals looking to improve their health situation.

Livestrong goes beyond the typical nutritional facts and articles — it is a lifestyle brand that actually works with you improve your lifestyle. Livestrong’s community-oriented site engages users unlike health information repositories, such as WebMD. While WebMD surpasses Livestrong’s 3.3 million monthly unique users, Livestrong outpaces WebMD in traffic frequency. Over 20 percent of Livestrong’s audience are “addicts” (i.e. 30 or more visits per month) while WebMD has less than one percent. How does Livestrong so effectively engage its community?

We outlined key elements at that make users come back for more:

  • Community: holding members accountable for health milestones
  • User Engagement: interactive tools provide users with valuable health information
  • Practical Information: how-to guides give users actionable advice to meet health goals
  • Monetization: members can get premium content through paid membership and mobile apps


Livestong impacts individual and collective change by holding community members accountable and accepted through member profiles, groups / forums, health-related “dares,” badges and recipes. Community member can build a health profile, where they can post bios, blogs, goals, health tracking results and more. Members can then join groups to work through their personal health challenge. Community members support and encourage the progress of others, which creates a highly personal experience. For instance the 100+ Pounds to Lose Group is about individuals who “have tried enough diets to realize they don’t work for the long-term and are embracing a lifestyle change.”

Here is an example of how Livestrong rallies its community:

To “pump-up” community members, Livestrong also has “Dares,” which enable users to motivate each other by exchanging information through message boards and forums. For instance, JShell1265 says, “1. You are not eating enough! Your net calories should never fall below 1,200 (females) or 1,500 (males). If you burn extra calories in a day (i.e. cardio or other exercise), you should eat those back so your “net calories” are no less than that number.” For all of those “Dares” and other milestones members achieve, they receive a badge — to evidence their incremental progress.

User Engagement

Livestrong activates its community with advanced, dynamic interactive tools. Information from these tools, whether it’s a BMI calculator or symptom checker, can be shared with community members. Here is an interactive tool overview:

  • The Daily Plate: Calculate your calorie goal, find ways to meet it and track progress. Livestrong boasts over 1.39 million members who have lost weight using the Daily Plate app
  • BMI Calculator: Measure your BMI (body fat as it relates to height and weight) with this simple tool. Users can track their BMI over time to measure progress.
  • Livestrong Loops: Map your running, cycling, walking and hiking routes with Google Maps
  • Mobile Calorie Counter: Includes the same expansive database of over 525,000 food and restaurant items and 2,000 fitness activities as The Daily Plate online
  • Symptom Checker: Helps users to decide whether to treat at home or see a doctor with an interactive guide

Practical Information

Alongside fun, community features, Livestrong provides practical, actionable information to alter unhealthy lifestyle habits. Livestrong covers a range of topics, including, Get Healthy, Fitness, Diet & Nutrition, Lifestyle, with sub-categories in each. And for those unfamiliar with article writer’s health jargon, Livestrong created an exhaustively comprehensive dictionary of terms in addition to a library of expert-generated how-to videos and articles.


While The Lance Armstrong Foundation is registered as a 501 (c) organization, monetizes its sizable community through memberships and mobile apps. The take-away from Livestrong’s monetization efforts is to provide deeper levels of engagement. While Livestrong offers a range of health-related tools, the paid options provide more convenience (mobile app) and unlimited access to incredibly helpful tools to get healthy (membership).

Livestrong is a clear leader in the health-oriented community space. The website entices users offering practical advice and tools that encourage repeat usage. Once Livestrong members want to move beyond tools and information, they can make a very real human connection through groups and forums with individuals facing similar health-related challenges. Livestrong does the individual and community elements very well by providing rich content and dynamic health and community tools for free. Only users that want engage even further can pay a fee. Instead of focusing on monetization, Livestrong is genuine kindness and vestment in the greater good. Accordingly, the non-profit truly is, living strong.

Mobile Tech’s Influence in a Network Society

Do you remember life before Facebook or Twitter or your Blackberry? In the past few years, we have moved beyond chat rooms and community forums to life-casting platforms that can be updated via your mobile phone. You can upload your son’s 1st soccer goal on YouTube, before the game is over. As we move forward, technology has accelerated the pace of our lives, enabled us to connect to the web with a pocket-sized device and opened our lifestyle to the world in ways that were not possible only a few short years ago. We will explore mobile technology’s influence in a network society by exploring smart phones, apps, privacy and Gen Y:

The Rapid Growth of Smart Phones

Mobile technology is advancing our ability to connect and share information in ways that were not possible even a couple of years ago. Consider the rapid rise of smart phones. Your iPhones, BlackBerrys, Droids are becoming staples in the mobile market. RIM is the US leader in smart phone devices, with 42% of the market in Feb 2010. The creatives answer to the smart phone (Apple’s iPhone 3GS), took second place with 25% market share and the largest growth comes from Google, with a jump from 4% in Nov 2009 to 9% in Feb 2010. With smart phone technology spreading to “the next billion” in China and India, it’s not hard to imagine the technology to be a staple of the global cell phone market in the not-too-distant future.


Via AdMob

Connecting on a Deeper Level

Smartphones enable users to engage in profound ways, using different platforms and offering a seemingly endless stream of apps. Some of the top iPhone apps are centered around connectivity and life-casting. For instance, Facebook enjoyed leadership status App Store for weeks after its release. The social network app ranks #4 in the most downloaded iPhone app with 26% penetration of installs, according to comScore. Facebook is followed closely by MySpace Mobile at #7 with 23% penetration of installs.

Next Big Growth

The next generation (Gen Y) of mobile users are not just connected, but hyper-connected — particularly through texting. The average American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Nielsen Company — more than doubled the average a year earlier.

Michael Hausauer, a psychotherapist in Oakland, Calif., said to the New York Times, teenagers had a “terrific interest in knowing what’s going on in the lives of their peers, coupled with a terrific anxiety about being out of the loop.” For that reason, he said, the rapid rise in texting has is a double-edged sword: ‘Texting can be an enormous tool,” he said. “It offers companionship and the promise of connectedness. At the same time, texting can make a youngster feel frightened and overly exposed.”

What’s next?

Our desire to connect on a deeper level is measured by our views on privacy. Gen Y has radically different views on privacy than Gen X or Boomers. Gen Y typically has a loose definition of privacy — enabling technology to penetrate deeper in their daily lives. Could the next level of engagement be GPS-related?

Google Latitude and iPhone apps such as Loopt and FourSquare enable users to track where they’ve been while keeping updated on their contact’s locations. For instance, if you’re going to the cafe down the street, you might want to stop into the local boutique to help your friend pick out a lamp shade for her apartment.

As technology advances, it is accelerating our ability to connect through mobile devices and peeling back a layer of privacy with each evolution. While the emerging generation might be quick to adapt such technology, where does that leave Gen X and Boomers? Will they be forced to change their attitudes about privacy and technology to adapt to the next wave of mobile devices? With the popularity of life-casting social networks such as Twitter and Facebook among Gen X and Boomers, the adoption of GPS-enabled and intrusive technologies might not be in the so distant future.

10 Tips for Online Survey Research


Not long ago, market researchers depended on phone surveys and mall intercepts.  The Internet has made research more affordable, accessible, and timely.  In fact, most online research surveys can go from setup to response to data in a week or less.  We share tips for online research that will yield bigger impact.

1. Screen-Out Unwanted Respondents. There are millions of research respondents who are part of online panels, and not all of them have opinions that will be helpful to you.  Be sure to hone in on whose opinion matters, and screen out the rest.  A simple market segmentation will help you think about who to include and exclude.

2.  Customer vs. Non-Customer. The most common mistake I have seen in research is the focus on only customers.  Typically, organizations already know the most about their own customers.  It’s easy to talk to your own customers, and there should already be an ongoing dialogue.  If you are focused on acquisition and growth, then the biggest knowledge gap is typically about non-customers.  If this is the case, be sure to have strong representation from non-customers whom you have prioritized as part of your growth initiatives.

3. Strike the Right Balance Between Time and Reward. Have you ever heard of respondent fatigue syndrome?  Basically, the more questions that are asked, the less focus the respondent has, and the more likely they are to start choosing any answer.  If you are not paying your respondents, or are offering a small bounty, then keep the survey short (under 10 minutes).  If you are offering a significant reward for completing the online survey, then hopefully your respondent will be more motivated.

4. Build On What You Know. There is already so much information available online for free that can help you build a base level of intelligence.  You’ll want every question to count, so don’t repeat questions that you know the answer to or can easily get the answer to.  For example, you can easily find out the latest trends in online advertising and e-commerce, so skip the basics.

5. Keep “Open-Answered” Questions to a Minimum. By the time you commence an online research study, you should have a thorough understanding of the issues at hand.  If you are asking lots of “open-answered” questions, that means that you don’t know the range of potential answers.  If this is the case, you should really be doing qualitative research such as depth interviews or focus groups first.  “Open-Answered” questions are not ideal for an online research study because they are difficult to analyze and sift through.

6.  Force Choices. It might be easy to ask “Do you like feature A?”  “How about B?” and “How about C?” and then compare the yes and no responses.  However, this will give you some false positives and won’t give you a true prioritization.  Consider the situation where most of your sample likes A, B, and C.  The conclusion would be that you should greenlight features A, B, and C.  However, if you are to ask which feature is most important, it’s possible that the vast majority choose C.  The new conclusion would be to prioritize feature C.  Try to structure questions to force choices and identify true preferences.

7. Randomize Lists. Assuming you go with our advice in #6, you will likely have questions which offer multiple choices.  Answer choice order can influence respondent selection.  For example, if you have a long list, you might see that more of the earlier choices are selected relative to choices at the end of the list.  Most online survey software provides an option to randomize your list to avoid bias in the answers.

8.  Be Careful of Pricing Questions. While most online market research responses provide good direction, pricing is often less reliable.  If you are going to pursue pricing questions, employ more advanced techniques to simulate real world decision-making.  You’ll want to get responses to enough different answers that you can start to draw a demand curve to get a sense of price elasticity.  In general, beware of drawing too many conclusions from price testing in online surveys.  There are other ways to get at price testing online such as doing A / B splits on commerce offers online, or even to test via Google Ad Words.

9.  Consider Sample Size. Increasing your responses from 250 to 1,000 will approximately double your precision.  If you plan for advanced analysis in which you subsegment respondents, be sure to increase sample size.  I have worked on online surveys ranging from sample sizes of 250 to 4,000 based on the complexity of the planned analysis.  You also may want to set quotas for certain types of respondents (i.e. recruit users of a competitor product in proportion to their actual market share).

10.  Keep It Affordable. For more advanced panels, you can access a panel (74 research panels provided by  You can also use word-of-mouth and incentives with your own customers to get respondents inexpensively.  Either way, consider using a free or inexpensive research survey tool such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang to keep costs at a minimum (note that Zoomerang has a panel of over 2 million respondents that they can link up to your survey).

Image by ilker . from Stock.Xchng


Learn more about Market Research.

Getting Started: Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is a form of internet marketing that uses search engine page results or site content to direct customers towards products or offerings. SEM advertising campaigns can appear in either search results and or within site content (i.e. contextual advertising).search_engine_marketing_feature

Market leaders include Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter. As Google AdWords is the largest SEM competitor, we will demonstrate how you can develop a successful ad campaign using their platform.

There are four main elements in Google AdWords: keywords, advertising messages, targeting and budget. To start, you will want to cast a wide net and optimize your efforts as you go. For instance, you will want around 95 keywords to begin, then delete those keywords that are under-performing.

Identifying Keywords

Keywords are the center of SEM. Determine which keywords customers would use to find your product. Google’s keyword tool can help you find and identify these keywords. For instance, let’s say you’re a florist launching a SEM campaign. In addition to obvious keywords, like “flowers,” also be sure to words that describe your product (e.g. tulips, roses, etc), the competition (e.g. 1800flowers), events and holidays (e.g. birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day). In the end, you should have at least 95 keywords — the more the better.

Developing Ads

With this information, you will develop around three to four SEM ads — each promoting a different element of your business. For instance, one of the ad campaigns might be, “Flowers for her birthday, Give her the gift of love” and though your audience might have a disposable income, they might be savvy shoppers — so throw in a campaign that advertises discounts. In all advertisements, Google recommends that you use keywords to catch customers attention.

Targeting Your Audience

One of the most helpful features in Google AdWords is geo-targeting. Geo-targeting (also called “Location”) means only those people in your specified market will see your ad. In this instance, people in Idaho are not going to see your ad if you’re based in Rochester and Philadelphia. As you are trying to collect as much data as possible, be sure to include surrounding towns, such as Henrietta, Pittsford, Narberth and Main Line.

Deciding Your Budget

Lastly, you will need to set a budget. To determine your maximum click per customer (or CPC), identify the lifetime value of each customer and assume only 1:8 users that click on your ad will become customers. This 1:8 ratio is called conversion rate. You want to spend less than each customer is worth while acquiring new customers. Additionally, you will need to set a daily cap on spending. Therefore, if you’re monthly SEM budget is $1,500, you can spend about $50 per day.

Let your ad campaign run for about a week and a half to gather as much data as possible. At this point you will be able to see which keywords and locations are performing well and those that are not. Maybe “tulip” has 29 clicks while “birthday” only has 1.  Delete those under-performing keywords, locations and ads to optimize your efforts. Over time you will see what works and what doesn’t to determine which keywords and campaigns are most effective in acquiring new customers.

Living with Google: A Day-in-the-Life


Google’s cloud-based apps have transformed the way people surf the web, do business, and view the world around them. Gmail has 176 million users to date, and Google Maps sees more than 44 million visitors each month. Google has more than 50 apps, with more being developed on a regular basis. Even if you’re not a Gmail user, or if you prefer MapQuest to Google’s services, chances are Google plays a part in your day in some way, shape or form. From popular apps like Docs and Gmail to lesser-known services such as Sites and Sky, Google has an app for just about everything.

Even more appealing, Google apps can function for both personal and business uses. Recently, Google announced its newest app geared toward businesses, Google Places. Companies small and large can list their location on Google Places, which will help their listing show up in Google search results. Businesses can also track clicks from these results and deeply analyze where their traffic is coming from and how customers find them.

With so many Google apps available, how would your day go if you only used Google products for one day? Here’s what we think would happen.

A Day In the Life of a Manhattan-Dwelling, Twentysomething Social Media Guru

6 a.m.: Wake up to the alarm on your Nexus One (who needs a real alarm clock these days?), check Gmail on your Google Chrome browser or right away on your Nexus One. After e-mail comes Google Reader to catch up on your favorite social media blogs, and Google News so you can find see breaking news headlines from around the Web, all in one place. Next, you check your schedule for the day on Google Calendar, and download the information to your Nexus One.

7 a.m.: Before heading out to the office, you remember you’ll need to run an errand in Brooklyn today, in a neighborhood you’ve never been to. You use your Nexus One to find the location on Maps, and save the information — including turn-by-turn directions and public transportation stops — to your phone. You make sure to favorite the location using Google Stars in the search results, so if you need to go there again, you’ll find the search result easily next time.

8 a.m.: At the office, you’ve received an e-mail from someone, with a document ready to view — without downloading to your desktop — using Docs. You open the document, and collaborate with your co-workers in real-time. At the same time, you open a new tab in Chrome and log into Wave, to collaborate on another project.

9 a.m.: Your boss asks you to work on a new project to make inter-office communication more effective and accessible. You immediately open Google’s Sites app, where you build a private wiki accessible to your entire office.

11 a.m.: When the wiki is completed, your boss asks you to look into the new Google Places app, to help get the company name out there, and find where clients are coming from on the Web. You easily add the company name and information into the app, and download the reporting dashboard to analyze the new data.

12 p.m.: Lunchtime. In your rush this morning, you forgot to pack a lunch, so you use Google Local Search to find new lunch spot nearby, and read reviews from other users. After settling on a meal, you realize you’ve left your favorite reading material at home, and don’t have much time to go buy a paper or magazine. You open Google Books instead, and catch up on a book you’ve been meaning to read.

2 p.m.: Suddenly realizing it’s your friend’s birthday, you scramble to think of a gift to buy. After a few minutes of shopping online, you find the perfect gift – and realize you’ve left your credit card at home. Luckily, the site you’re on uses Google Checkout, which has your information already stored. You click a few buttons, and the purchase is made.

3 p.m.: Back to work. You’re boss asks you to update the company blog with a post commenting on the latest Google app, and how it will benefit social media users. In Chrome, you open two tabs – one for Trends, the other for Google News. You find the perfect trending topic, then log into Blogger to write the post, making sure to pull in pictures from Picasa and embed a video from YouTube.

5 p.m. Before heading home, you log into Google Talk hoping your friend is online. You also pull up Orkut, Google’s own social network, and notice a friend from high school will be in the city this weekend. You message them and make plans to meet up for lunch. You make plans to meet for dinner later. You check Google Maps again to make sure you know where you’re going, and read some recommendations and reviews of the restaurant.

9 p.m. It’s a clear night sky, and you think you’ve found the big dipper. You hop on to Google Sky to scope out constellations and see if you’re right. You get a little carried away looking at views of planets and galaxies, and get to bed a little late.

Google may have a lot of things on their plate, but their main focus is simple — to make the Internet easy for everyone — and apps do just that. Whether you use Google’s apps for business, personal, or both, there’s no arguing that apps make our lives a little bit easier.