Tag Archives: google

Top 20 tried-and-true Android smartphone aps

Jason provides his list of the top 20 tried-and-true Android smartphone apps that are worth your time to download.

The Android Market may not have as many apps as the iPhone App Store yet, but there are still more than enough to be overwhelmed, and it continues to grow at a breakneck pace. To help you sort through them all, here is my latest list of the 20 most useful Android apps (this is an update of my 2010 Android list). I’ve also recently updated my list of the most useful iPhone apps and you’ll notice several of the same apps on both lists.

Remember that I primarily had business professionals in mind when making this list and also keep in mind that this is a snapshot in time. The Android platform is developing so quickly that I guarantee my home screen will look different a month from now.

Still, here’s my list of tried-and-true Android apps that I can highly recommend.

1. Google Voice

Google Voice is a service that is so useful I consider it one of the top benefits of Android itself. The service gives you a phone number that can ring to multiple places or devices and it allows you to access all of your voicemail and text messages from the Web. The Android app integrates even deeper. It can make outgoing calls look like they’re coming from your Google Voice number so that you can keep your real mobile number private.

2. Advanced Task Killer

One of the realities of having a multitasking mobile OS is that you have to manage your apps so that they don’t hurt performance or battery life. Advanced Task Killer (ATK) is my favorite on Android. It even comes with a widget that you can tap once to kill all open apps and you can also set up ATK to kill all apps at periodic intervals. Some people will argue that task managers are irrelevant and unneeded in Android, but I still prefer to use ATK.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is a great cloud service that automatically syncs a folder of files between multiple computers (Windows, Mac, or Linux). This app extends Dropbox to Android and interacts with other apps (such as Documents To Go) to open the files. It allows you to access PDFs, image files, and business documents by simply dragging them to a folder on your computer and then you immediately have access to them from your mobile phone, once you have this app installed.

4. Evernote

Once you get used to typing on a virtual keyboard (and it honestly took me over a year to do it), then these devices are great for note-taking, and Evernote is a great note-taking app. It is similar to Dropbox in that it saves data locally but syncs it across all your machines and devices.

5. Taskos

There are plenty of to-do apps to choose from on Android but I now prefer Taskos because of the clean, easy, Android-friendly user experience. It also has a few extras that give it an advantage over apps. The biggest one is voice recognition, which lets you speak a task that the app turns into a to-do item (you might have to correct a word or two).

6. DroidAnalytics

For some reason Google doesn’t have an official app for Google Analytics (for either Android or iPhone). The best one I’ve found on Android is DroidAnalytics. Another good one is mAnalytics.

7. Documents To Go

The free version of Documents To Go offers a great little reader for Microsof Word and Excel files. You can upgrade to the full version (for $15) if you want to be able to create and edit files and add PowerPoint files to the mix. If you do want editing capability, I’d also recommend taking a look atQuickOffice.

8. Google Docs

If you mostly work with Google Docs (including uploading Microsoft Office files to your Google Docs repository) then the only app you’ll really need is the Google Docs app. It’s a nice mobile implementation of document management, although the one annoyance is that always open up files in a web browser rather than within the app itself, which would be a little smoother.

9. Tripit

I dig Tripit. It is by far the best app I’ve found for keeping track of all my travel itineraries. It runs on some great backend systems. You simply forward your confirmation emails for your flights, hotels, rental cars, and more to Tripit and it automatically organizes them into trips with all your details and confirmation numbers. Or, if you use Gmail, you can even use a plugin to automatically catch confirmation emails and turn them into Tripit trips.

10. Places

This is an awesome app for finding shops and services near your current location. From restaurants to medical facilities to taxis, this app is very accurate and takes advantage of the business information from Google Local. This app is better than the info you get from a GPS unit (or app) and better than any of the similar apps available on the iPhone. It’s also integrated into Google Maps.

11. Astro File Manager

Another one of the great things about Android (if you’re a geek or a tinkerer) is that you have lower-level access to the system itself. Astro is an app that lets you navigate the Android file system, which is mostly just interesting, but can be handy once in a while.

12. Speed Test

I’m obsessed with running speed tests to check my bandwidth in various places, both to see 3G/4G fluctuations and to check the quality of Wi-Fi. There are a number of really good speed test apps, but my favorite is the Speedtest.net app. It’s generally consistent and it has some of the best graphics and options.

13. Amazon Kindle

I’ve never completely warmed up to the Amazon Kindle e-reader, but I’m a big fan of the Kindle mobile app. Since it was released I’ve read a lot more books simply because my smartphone is always with me and I can pull it out and read a few pages anytime I’ve got a couple minutes free.

14. Google+

I’ve written a lot about Google+ since it launched in July and I’m pretty active over there (+emkaytsg). One of the great things that Google did was to release a Google+ Android app at the same time it launched the service as a beta. And, surprisingly, the app was actually pretty good and has been improved since. It immediately became one of my most used mobile apps and definitely stole some of my time away from Android’s Twitter app, mostly because Google+ is a little more interactive.

15. TED Air

The TED conference features a meeting of the minds of some of society’s most influential thinkers. You’ll disagree with some of them since there’s a large diversity of viewpoints, but many talks are worth listening to in order to catch the latest creative thinking on society’s biggest challenges. The cool thing is that they’ve taken the videos from the conference and made them freely available on the Web. The TED Air app provides a great way to access the videos on a mobile device. I hope more conferences follow TED’s lead on this.

16. Google Goggles

This is a fun app that is a little bit ahead of its time. It does visual searches. You can take pictures of things and then the app tries to tell you what they are. It’s limited in its scope but it is pretty cool, and it’s definitely a peek into the future. One of the coolest features is the ability to take pictures of text in a foreign language and let the app translate it for you. In a foreign country, this can help you read street signs and avoid going into the wrong bathroom. 🙂 On a more practical level, Goggles is a QR code reader.

17. Photoshop Express

Photoshop is, of course, the best known photo editor in the world and its mobile app doesn’t do anything to hurt that reputation. But while the desktop version is known for having a zillion features, the mobile app is distinguished by its simplicity. It’s the best Android (and iPhone) photo editing app for simple crops, brightness adjustments, and sharpens, for example.

18. Audible

As much as I like the Kindle ebooks, I actually consume more books as audiobooks via Audible. With the Audible app you can connect to your Audible library and download over the air. The app also gives you a self-contained player optimized for audiobooks, with a skip-back-30-seconds button and the opportunity to make notes and bookmarks (although I wish the app would store these online so that they could be accessed from the Audible site).

19. Shazam

If you want to impress your friends with a mobile app, show them Shazam. Ever hear a song being played at a store or on the radio and ask yourself, “Oh, what song is that?” That’s where Shazam comes in. Just hit the button and let it listen for 15 seconds, query its database, and then return the name of artist and the song. It has about an 80% success rate. This one isn’t particularly productive, but it is really cool. (You have to live a little, every once in a while.)

20. Google Finance

This is a great little app that regularly gets overlooked. It connects to your Google Finance account, where you can set up a list of stocks and companies to follow and sort them into groups (portfolios). The app provides three simple tabs — a look at the market, a look at your portfolios, and the latest market news. It even does real-time updates when you have the app open.

Other Non google APS which are very good.

  1. KeePass for Passwords. Save password file in DropBox and will be automatically synced to desktop, etc. KeePass is OpenSource.
  2. WeatherBug – tried weather.com and Moto’s built-in, but WeatherBug works best for me
  3. RadarNow – Fast, accurate radar map of current location
  4. WhitePages-free version – driving around town and need to look up a restaurant number – use WP’s. Can then add the number/business to contacts.
  5. Google Reader – sync with Google Reader, RSS feeds, etc.
  6. Dolphin browser because I like tabbed browsing. . .
  7. Fuel Log – if you like to track vehicle related stat’s
  8. Craig’s Notify – simply awesome tool to monitor Craig’s List for things you just can’t live without (ok, maybe just want!)
  9. Droid Light – who doesn’t need a flashlight now and then?
  10. 2X client – great, free Terminal services client.
  11. ebay,
  12. open signal maps,
  13. BBC news,
  14. Android Terminal Emulator,
  15. CoolReader (the best book reader out there, i.e. epub etc),
  16. ES File Explorer,
  17. HandyCalc,
  18. MyBackup Root,
  19. MoboPlayer,
  20. Telnet,
  21. SIP Droid,
  22. Wifi Analyzer
Add if you wish any .
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10 Apple Patents We Want to Use NOW Apple Gazette — Apple Gazette


10 Apple Patents We Want to Use NOW

Nobody loves to patent stuff like Apple does. It seems that the Cupertino tech giant is filing patent applications on a daily basis. Here are 10 of their best-ever patents that have yet to be incorporated into products — but we hope they soon will be.

Looking at Apple’s patents these days, you can’t help wondering if Apple is just dreaming up scifi tech of the future, with no actual basis in any existing technology. Because some of this stuff is way out there (yet undeniably cool).

The patents you see here are in various states of ownership; some have been awarded to Apple by the Patent Office, others have merely been submitted for approval. And it’s worth noting that just because a patent is filed doesn’t mean that the technology will be implemented. It’s common practice for tech makers to register their ideas merely to keep others from registering the same thing.

Elastic iDevice Dock

Eliminating the problem of requiring different-shaped docks for different devices, this intriguing patent features a sponge-like dock that molds and conforms to the shape of whatever iPod, iPhone, or iPad model you own. I have no idea how technology will make such a thing possible, and I can’t help looking at it and wondering how long it will be before it comes to life growls, “Huuuuuuungryyyy…” Consider this one many years away. [Source]

Fingerprint-Resistant Touchscreen

Long, long overdue, here’s a patent for coating the glass surface of an iOS device with a substance called an “oleophobic,” which is oil-resistant. Basically, it keeps fingerprints off your screen, which anybody with an iPhone or iPad would welcome. This one is reportedly nearly ready for production, so we might see it integrated as soon as iPhone 5. [Source]

iDevice With Built-In TV and DVR

One of the holy grails of modern technology is the mobile television. Some companies have made great strides toward this goal, and Apple itself was among the first to make possible the purchase or rental of TV episodes. But live television has yet to be implemented in a way that’s both pleasing and affordable to the masses. Apple’s patent for both a live digital TV receiver and built-in DVR for recording is a no-brainer of an idea, and if Apple beats other tech giants to the punch and applies its trademark simplicity of use and cool factor to its implementation, this could be a game-changer. [Source]

iPhone Lasertag

Apple has never been terribly excited about embracing video gamers, which makes this patent a welcome surprise. In essence, it’s a software scheme for using the iPhone’s accelerometer, GPS, and gyroscope in conversation with other iPhones, opening up a whole new world of gaming for iPhone owners. Because it would make apps like augmented reality games into multiplayer extravaganzas. With every phone always knowing where every other phone in the game is, games like lasertag would be easy for developers to create. Shooting could be as simple as aiming with your camera, lining your target up with the on-screen reticle, and then tapping the screen to shoot. Then your opponent’s phone would immediately alert them that they’re “dead.” [Source]

Merged iMac and iPad

This patent is notorious more for what it implies than what it actually says, because it proves beyond any lingering doubt that Apple’s plans for the future do indeed point to a convergence between iOS and OS X. Or, if you prefer, iPad and iMac. Despite Steve’s claim a while back that users don’t want to touch their computer screens, Apple is working on that very thing, combining touchscreen computing with high-powered desktops and laptops. The patent itself is for a system whereby this merged device would automatically know when you switch from vertical, iMac-like screen use, to horizontal, iPad-style use, and change the OS’s interface accordingly. [Source]

Object-Sensing Screen

Much like Microsoft’s cutting-edge Surface table device, this patent is for recognizing objects that are placed on your computer’s screen. It could be commonly used to sync your iPhone by just touching it to your iMac’s screen, or paying for online goods with a credit card by simply placing the card flat against the screen. [Source]

Screen Privacy

Another long overdue innovation, this technology creates a narrow angle of space where a screen can be viewed. When the only person who can see the screen is the user, looking at it straight-on, the nosy person beside you can no longer watch yourAngry Birds slingshot moves or read your email. Don’t let the iPod Classic in the diagram fool you; most patents are filed years ahead of their usage, and this one is likely no different. [Source]

Solar-Powered iDevices

A solar-powered iPhone or iPad is not an earth-shattering notion, but leave it to Apple to put an ingenious new spin on an old idea. This patent hides the solar cells beneathyour device’s screen. So all you’d have to do to charge up your device is leave it screen-up in direct sunlight. [Source]

Tactile-Feedback Touchscreen

Gorilla glass is so last year. Apple wants to leap into the future with a dynamic screen — made out of an unknown substance — with an “articulating frame” surface that can raise or lower in certain spots. Think of the liquid metal Terminator from T2 growing a tactile keyboard out of the smooth, flat surface of a touchscreen. Call them “magic buttons” if you want, that can raise up and depress when in use, but such a profoundly futuristic technology has limitless potential applications. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this one anytime soon, but it’ll be a jaw-dropper if/when Apple makes it happen. [Source]

Voice Commands

Based on technology from startup Siri (which Apple purchased in 2010), this patent would allow for complex commands to be given to iOS devices via nothing but your voice. The patent cites as an example, a command like this: “find my most played song with a 4-star rating and create a Genius playlist using it as a seed.” Unlike many of Apple’s pie-in-the-sky patents, this one seems likely to be used in the near future. This is another one that could come about as early as iPhone 5. [Source]

10 Apple Patents We Want to Use NOW Apple Gazette — Apple Gazette.

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Employee Placement Method

Employee Placement Method

Does your organization struggle with the problem of properly fitting people to jobs?  Here is a handy hint for ensuring success in job placement.

Take the prospective employees you are trying to place and put them in a room with only a table and two chairs. Leave them alone for two hours, without any instruction. At the end of that time, go back and see what they are doing.

  • If they have taken the table apart in that time, put them in Engineering.
  • If they are counting the butts in the ashtray, assign them to Finance.
  • If they are screaming and waving their arms, send them off to Manufacturing.
  • If they are talking to the chairs, Personnel is a good spot for them.
  • If they are writing up the experience, send them to Tech Pubs.
  • If they don’t even look up when you enter the room, assign them to Security.
  • If they try to tell you it’s not as bad as it looks, send them to Marketing.
  • If they’ve left early, put them in Sales.
  • And if they’re all bullying each other, they’re Management material.
Cheers & Enjoy my Future Posts
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Google Plus Resources – A Complete Story

Have you earned your Google Plus (aka Google+) cred yet? If you’re not one of the Pluserati, chances are that you’re still coming up the Google+ learning curve or maybe sitting on the sidelines because the thoughts of building a presence on yet another social media platform seems too daunting.  The reality is that if you’re a marketer or involved in technology or social media eventually you’re going to need to take the dive. Granted that Google+ is another Google product and Google hasn’t been very effective at social media beyond YouTube, but give it a test drive. As the old ad said, try it, you’ll like it!

To help you get your Google+ on, here’s a round up of the best resources to get you up to speed quickly and efficiently.

Google Plus: The facts, nothing but the facts

While there’s no doubt that Google+ is off to a running start, you may want to take a closer look at what’s behind the numbers.

  1. comScore weighs in on Google+’s growth with some details about who’s using the service.
  2. Experian Hitwise provides another perspective on Google+’s growth.
  3. Google+’s growth trajectory is included in this Gigaom piece explaining why Google screwed up on the topic of brand pages. This is important for brands, media entities and lawyers. (Several sources are all using the same information. Here’s the analyst behind the chart, Leon Haland.)
  4. How Google Plus Stacks Up Against Facebook. In this data-rich report by Jackie Cohen (no relation) on AllFacebook.com you’ll find hard numbers comparing Facebook and Google+.

Google Plus how-tos

These resources are the Google+ manuals. Dip into them to see which ones work best for your needs. Remember that Google+ is still in beta and this information continues to evolve.

  1. The Google+ Demo. Google put together a fun interactive map of the features of Google+. Mouse around and explore. There’s a lot to learn.
  2. The Google+ Project Home page. Tap into all of the content Google’s put together to explain Google+ including a video overview. Tabs on the project home page lead to detailed descriptions of the various features.
  3. Google+ discussion forum Stop by to pick up on the very latest Google+ news and info and follow the trends.
  4. The Google+ Help Center. This is the support page for all Google+ users. It’s reachable from a link on any Google+ page. Being Google, it’s search engine based.
  5. Google+ Tips & Tricks, a collaborative document. In true social media form, here’s the ultimate guide to Google+ created by over 120 people!
  6. Mashable. As the repository for everything social media, Mashable editors have been using Google+ and sharing their insights regularly. Here’s their comprehensive Google+ Guide. Even if you’ve got some Google+ experience under your belt, you may want to check this article to get a list of Mashable staff on Google+.
  7. How to get started with Google+. Social Media Examiner has a lengthly post to get you started.
  8. Google+ for Newbies. 40 tips from Travis Campbell that use screenshots to guide you.
  9. Google+ in 15 minutes a day Here’s a post that Getting Things Done’s author David Allen would love. SEOmoz shows readers how to prevent Google+ from being a time suck.

Who’s who of Google Plus

These are the folks who’ve risen to the top of the Google+ ranks. Don’t get discouraged since many of them had a head start by having strong followings on other platforms.

  1. The Google Pluserati. Alltop.com has gathered on one webpage the RSS feeds of several dozen influential bloggers who are active on Google+ including Danny Sullivan, Scott Monty, Ann Handley, Paul Allen and Matt Cutts, to name just a few.
  2. Facebook employees. If you can’t beat them, at least keep tabs on what they’re doing. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is one of the most followed people on Google+. Marketers, this is a great lesson in competitive intelligence. Get onto competitive platforms or buy competitive products to understand their customers.
  3. Andy Hertzfeld who has been working at Google since 2005 is the design lead on the project and the one to thank for the great-looking Google+ interface. You’ll likely recognize his name from his time spent at Apple (1979 – 1984) where he was a key designer for the original Macintosh software team. Read about the design effort in Steven Levy’s,Inside Google+ article on Wired.com.

Google Plus meets the spin cycle

Here are some articles from established media sources to share how they view or assess Google+.

  1. Econsultancy assesses Google+ in light of new psychological research from UCLA. The research alone is worth your reading time.
  2. What’s In a Name: Google+ Is Your Plus One Mashable explains how Google chose the name for their new social media platform and how the philosophy of +1 enhances every other Google product and service.
  3. Techcrunch ran a long article, Google+ Project: It’s Social, It’s Bold, It’s Fun, And It Looks Good — Now For The Hard Part, last month describing the features of Google+ and some of the underlying technology.
  4. The New York Times takes notice of Google+ in an article by Paul Boutin: What Google+ Is All About appearing in the Personal Tech column on June 30th.
  5. Wall Street Journal. presents a top line assessment of Google’s entry into the social media ecosystem  A Review of Google+.
  6. Znet. Every party has a pooper. Znet found ten features that they think should be incorporated into Google+. (Did anyone tell them that it’s in beta?)

What the experts say about Google+

While everyone wants to be in the know and part of the cool circle (Google+ speak for gang), take some time to discover what some of the social media marketing thought leaders are saying. Interestingly, many of these experts have found that their articles on Google+ are among their most popular to-date.

  1. Jay Baer in his post Why Google Has the Hammer To Make Businesses Use Google Plus makes the case for business use of Google+. (Hint: Search!)
  2. David Berkowitz presents a useful Google+ FAQ. David is a social media tester par excellence and gives his feedback.
  3. Olivier Blanchard (aka The Brand Builder) weighs in on eight questions about Google+. He gives thoughtful responses.
  4. Chris Brogan’s top 50 thoughts on Google+. As a top Ad Age 150 blogger, Chris knows his way around new social media platforms. His testing of Google+ had an organized approach. Therefore, it’s a good starting place for anyone looking to get a feel for the platform before they take a deep dive.
  5. Jeff Bullas has an interesting perspective on Google+’s high level of engagement which is useful to marketers.
  6. Brian Clark (aka Copyblogger) weighs into the discussion by questioning whether Google+ is useful for content marketing.
  7. Heidi Cohen makes the case that Google+ is a battle for your time. (Okay, I know it’s linking to my blog!)
  8. Jason Falls created a ten minute video to give you a tour of Google+ combined with his feedback. It’s useful to watch Jason’s video before you start clicking around.
  9. John Jantsch, (aka Duct Tape Marketing)  small business know-how expert, shares his five tips for integrating Google+ into your business routine.
  10. Christopher S. Penn, Blue Sky Vice President of Marketing, has put together a starting point for those of you who want to track your Google Plus results. No surprise, his step by step tutorial uses Google Analytics.
  11. David Pogue says, in his July 13th , New York Times Personal Tech column, Google+ Improves on Facebook, that even though this is a first test version, “Google’s less sprawling, more video-centric, better-controlled new service is already too good to ignore.”
  12. Robert Scobbles (aka Scobilizer), the enfant terrible of blogging, weighs in about Google+. If you’re not familiar with Robert, you’ve probably been hiding under an outdated, overweight computer. When Robert blogs, the tech world listens and so should you.
  13. Brian Solis wrote a very long post last week about everything Google+, claiming  Google will not run Circles around Facebook, but it gets a +1.
  14. Danny Sullivan writes from a personal viewpoint commenting on the usability of Google+ and Twitter in his post, Google+ Vs. Twitter: A Personal View. He takes a “watch and see” attitude.
  15. Mark Zuckerberg, While he didn’t give Google+ a thumbs up or a thumbs down, he did say that the rise of social in more companies was in line with his view of the world. “I view a lot of this as validation as to how the next five years are going to play out,” he noted in a Facebook video chat.

Can you find me now? What Google Plus means for search marketing

What do the search experts have to say about Google+ and what do you need to know.

  1. Google+: The Good, the Bad and The UglySearch Engine Landweighs on the search giant’s social media move.
  2. Google+’s impact on Search in old media’s marketing bible, Ad Age, by Dave Williams.
  3. Optimizing your Google Profile. At a minimum, make sure you’re getting the most from your Google ProfileSEOptimise has ten tips.
  4. Google+ and Twitter Impact on Search. SEOmoz’s experiment is a must read if you’re concerned about social media and search.
  5. Local Only. Also on Search Engine Land, Andrew Shotland explores the possible impact of Google+ on local search in his post, What Will Google Plus Google Places Equal?

Get your tech on – Integrating Google Plus and technology

Do you want to be on top of how to integrate Google+ into platforms and tools? Then this section’s for you!

  1. The Google+ Cheat Sheet. Google+ is geeky. It has a number of keyboard shortcuts and editing macros. This cheat sheet from Mashable includes most of the common syntax, hotkeys and tips to enable you to use Google+ like a pro.
  2. Google+ Icons anyone? Here are 14 options to add to your social sharing on your blog or website.
  3. Photography anyone? Photographer Colby Brown has done a great job of laying out how to use Google+ for photographers including addressing IP rights and TOC. Even if you’re just a amateur using your smartphone, this post has useful information. Remember that photographs are important content!
  4. Google+ Sparks. Nate Riggs gives pointers on using Google+ Sparksas a listening post. This is a must for every marketer and PR expert.
  5. Searching Google+It’s ironic that the 900 pound gorilla of search doesn’t enable participants to search their stream on their social media platform. Here’s a work around for searching your Google+ stream but be warned it’s VERY geeky.
  6. Chrome Extensions. Google+ doesn’t do everything yet. However, if you use their Chrome browser, you can add extensions to power up your Google+ experience, including one that will cross-post your feed items to Twitter and Facebook. Business Insider put together a review of the best Google Chrome extensions.
  7. Add your Googlecard to your WordPress blog or website. You can download a plugin from PlusDevs.com that will create a sidebar widget displaying your Google+ Profile card.
  8. +1 Everywhere. Google has not yet published a Google+ Application Programming Interface (API) to distribute its functionality to other websites as  have Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. However, you can add a plus one button to any web page to encourage your readers to share your content on the new service. Find out how on the Google +1 page.
  9. Google+ WordPress Themes. Google always gets good reviews from designers for its minimalist approach to web page design. Now, WordPress users can style their blogs like Google+ using one of a number of Google+ inspired themes, such as Reflex+ from CSS Reflex.
  10. Google+ goes mobile. Google announced a Google+ app for Android smartphones and tablets when it first opened the service. You can find it in the Android Marketplace.  Now there’s also an app for iPhones. Search the App Store or download it from iTunes using your smartphone’s browser. While there’s no iPad app yet, you can still use Google+ on the popular tablet via the Safari web browser.
  11. Google+ wish list. Yes it’s Google but we can hope that they’re listening. Here are twelve items Google must get right. Josepf Haslam is on the money. What do you think?

Let’s play – How marketing can use Google Plus

While Google Plus isn’t ready for prime time marketing, you should be testing it on your own and making sure that it’s in your plans for next year. Here are some early indicators for marketers.

  1. How Google+ compares to other social media networks (Chart included!) This chart is a must-see for every marketer since it includes marketing implications.
  2. Google+, Businesses and Beyond‬‏. In this YouTube video, Christen Oestlien, a Google+ Product Manager, talks about his company’s plans to support “businesses, brands and other entities.”
  3. Google + for marketersClickZ Executive Editor Anna Maria Vizi gets feedback from columnists.
  4. How to use Google+ for your brand. Here’s 5 tips on how to get ready for Brand Pages on Google+ by Rob Schott via Search Engine Watch.
  5. Ford test drives Google+. Here’s ClickZ’s account of Ford’s presence on Google+.
  6. GooglePlus supports content marketing. Here are three content marketing tips via Content Marketing Institute.
  7. Google+ versus Facebook. Here’s an infographic for the visual among you.
  8. PR conferences anyone? Here’s an example of using a Google+ hangout for a press conference via Fast Company.
  9. Are you paying attention to how journalists are using Google+?If you’re a marketing or a PR professional, the media is critical to helping you get your message out. Here’s how journalists are testing Google+ as reported by TNW (aka The Next Web).

Regardless of your feelings for Google, Google+ is here to stay. Therefore, the sooner you get onto the platform and test it out, the faster you’ll be able integrate it into your marketing plans. One thing’s for certain, it’s critical to include it in your next year’s plans and related budget.

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Top 10 Steps for Creating a Holiday Marketing Campaign That Shines

The sun is shining, and many of us are still wearing shorts and enjoying
summer’s last rays, which means the holidays are still a long way off,
right? Not exactly. Even though thoughts of sugarplums, eggnog, and hot
cocoa may seem like they’re months away, the time for planning your holiday
campaign is now. Fortunately, as you’ve told us on our Facebook
poll, many of you are now starting your holiday campaign planning.

Here are our top 10 tips for kicking your holiday campaign into high gear.
(If it helps, try tackling some of these while relaxing by the lake.)

  1. Decide on your goals 

    It may sound very basic, but thinking about what you want to achieve
    with your holiday campaign is critical to creating the right strategy.
    As you think about your business right now, what is most important? It
    could be to increase your customer base, profit, or revenue. Keep in
    mind that it’s unlikely you will be able to do all of these things, so
    pick one or two.

  2. Develop your budget
    Your budget will help you decide what channels you can afford to use.
    Email marketing and social media marketing are two channels that don’t
    cost much and usually have very high return on investment, so consider
    making them a major part of your plan.

  3. Look back at last year
    In looking at what you did (or did not do) last year, what worked and
    what didn’t? Think about how you can improve upon what you did last
    year, and don’t be afraid to recycle something that worked particularly
    well. You can always spin your recycled offer as “back by popular

  4. Get familiar with key dates 

    You may have the big holidays covered, but there are many other key
    dates to keep in mind. Are there any quirky holidays you can use to
    stand out from the crowd? What are the can’t-miss dates for your

  5. Choose what you want to offer
    As a small business, it can be difficult to stand out from the big-box
    retailers during this season, so make sure you include more than just a
    discount on your product. Get creative with your offers, and wrap them
    up in a personal way that only your small business can. If you’re at a
    loss for new ideas, don’t be afraid to ask your customers. Pose a
    question on Facebook or Twitter, such as, “What offer would you most
    like to see from us this holiday season?” Give your customers a few
    options to choose from (along with a write-in option), and be prepared
    to use the best idea.

  6. Use an integrated approach
    Think about how your channels work together and which channels reach
    your target customer. If email marketing is your primary marketing
    vehicle, think about how you can extend your message using social media
    and vice versa.

  7. Create a messaging schedule
    Now that you have come up with some ideas for offers and have circled
    key dates on your calendar, you will want to come up with a schedule for
    promoting those offers. How long do you want your offers to last? When
    do you want to start promoting them? When will you use email, and when
    will you use social media?

  8. Grow your list
     – The
    holiday season presents great opportunities for reaching new customers,
    so use this time to grow your email list and social media following. If
    you are a retailer, ask people to sign up for emails during checkout.
    Online, make sure you have email sign-up forms on both your website and
    social media pages. Consider offering an extra incentive for signing up
    for your email list.

  9. Keep the conversation going
    Use social media to keep your customers engaged with you throughout the
    season. Start a conversation by asking questions related to your
    business. Run a sweepstakes for following/liking you, or consider making
    a donation to charity if you get a certain number of likes.

  10. Don’t forget events
    If you host holiday events, use email to invite your customers to
    attend, and use social media to talk about the events both during and
    after. Consider having an event to get people excited about your
    business, such as an exclusive presale shopping hour for your email
    subscribers. If your business is online only, create a coupon for a
    first look at your sale selection before the general public gains

Follow these steps now, and you’ll be able to welcome fall with peace of
mind, knowing you have a fantastic holiday campaign all planned out and
ready to shine.

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