I actually wanted to cover this one a few days ago, when I first heard about HP's new range of 'just email me!' printers -- but we're not a hardware site! However, now that Google's in on the gig and now that we know Chrome OS played a role in HP's printer development... well, now it's software news! (Fast forward to 31:37 in the video above for the Google Cloud Print presentation.)
If you haven't heard about HP's new printers, it's a complete range, from domestic printers priced at $99 through to enterprise-level machines. They have one amazing trait in common: they're all Web-aware. They all have an email address. You can simply send a document or some photos to that email address and... it prints! I'm trying to find you a link to the actual printersso you can check their specs, but it seems like HP hasn't updated their website yet. Darn.
Google Cloud Print is basically the same thing, but without the email step. You simply press 'print', and Google Cloud Print does the rest. If you've tried printing from your smartphone, you'll probably appreciate just how awesome such a feature would be.
Anyway, Lee and I have been keeping an eye out on the Google Chrome OS source, and the Cloud Print functionality is only available for internal testing at Google. We'll be sure to let you know when it's ready for public testing!
Those of you who -- like me -- run Google Chrome and Chromium on multiple computers with different operating systems probably find its built-in sync abilities incredibly useful. They've been steadily expanded from initially only handling our bookmarks to now syncing just about every personalization option available.
Preferences? Check. Form auto-fill? Check. Theme? Check. Extensions? ...
Maybe not yet, but we all knew it was just a matter of time. With Google pushing the "your apps everywhere" philosophy in Chrome OS, there was no question that our Google Chrome extensions would be added to its preference sync options soon enough.
This morning, extension sync appeared in the Chromium source code. Better still, it's enabled by default -- meaning there's no need to flip a command line switch to turn it on.
It's clear the Chrome developers are hard at work, and there's really not much difference between a .CRX containing a theme and one containing an extension -- and theme sync has been working beautifully for quite some time now.
So when will extension sync hit the Chrome dev channel? Sooner rather than later, I expect.
Xmarks is an excellent tool for maintaining the same set of bookmarks in all your web browsers -- on all your computers. It works with Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome and in addition to your bookmarks they've recently been busily adding tab sync support.
Today they've announced on the official Xmarks blog that your open tabs are now available anywhere. That includes places where you can't use an Xmarks add-on or extension, like your iPhone or Android handset. Just head to my.xmarks.com and you'll see a new addition to the mobile interface: open tabs.
You can access your tabs from any desktop browser as well. Just open the same page, click the tools button, and choose open tabs from the menu.
[via Xmarks blog]
Hey, do you remember Google Bookmarks? I didn't either, until I heard the news that Google Bookmarks now has the ability to create and share lists of links. After a moment of confusion, I realized that Google Bookmarks wasn't a new product, and I started playing with lists.
They're actually quite useful! On top of creating and sharing, you can import all of the bookmarks from a friend's list (or a public list) into your own Google Bookmarks account. You can also open up lists to let your friends, or the public, add new links to them. Since this is a Google product, I don't think you'll be surprised to hear that it also suggests links that might fit into a list you're making.
Bookmarks are in a weird place right now. Sites like Delicious, which looked like the future of bookmarking a few years ago, have become less relevant. Many people are storing their bookmarks locally, and syncing them across machines with plugins like Xmarks or features like Chrome's bookmark sync. If anyone can bring users back to web-based bookmarking, though, it's Google, and a lists feature is an important start.
On a recent Google Chrome post one of our commenters -- MoneyMike -- lamented the apparent passing of one of Chrome's popular UI features in recent nightly builds: pinned tabs.
I, too, noticed the change recently and wondered what was going on. There's been plenty of discussion amongst Chrome developers, and it boils down to an evolutionary step for Chrome and the introduction of app tabs. The arrival of phantom tabs recently is also part of the change.
To clear the air, I pinged Google's Eitan Bencuya to see if he could shed any light on the situation. Here's his response:
"As you know, all of these features are still pretty experimental (they're not even in the dev channel yet) and we're trying out different approaches to see what works. In this case this is part of a larger set of tweaks we are making related to extensions but we haven't yet fleshed out all the details of app tabs specifically."