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Google Cloud Print picks up steam

Last April, Google announced their plans for Google Cloud Print (GCP), the service that powers printing on Chromebooks as well as a new generation of connected apps and devices. The goal of GCP is to enable simple, secure printing from any app on any device to any printer—and with the latest cloud-ready printers, you can also print without using drivers or cables.

Since launching earlier this year,a vast community of enthusiastic users and developers became part of GCP. More than 6 million printers have already been connected to GCP using Google Chrome; dozens of cloud-ready printers have been released or announced by manufacturers like Epson, HP and Kodak; and the developer community has released a flurry of apps and extensions to enable cloud printing from both Android and iOS.

While developers and printer manufacturers have embraced GCP, we’ve also released a variety of improvements to the service. You can now share and control access to your printers so your friends and family can use them too. With “Save to Google Docs,” it’s easy to save your online receipts and confirmation pages to an archive in the cloud. The management page has a new tablet-friendly design and a “Print” button so you can upload and print files to your cloud printers from anywhere.

Finally, webmasters can add the print button element to their site to enable printing functionality for tablets and mobile phones.

People with Chromebooks have always had access to the latest and greatest Google Cloud Print features, but today google starting with the latest release of Chrome, anyone using the browser on Windows, Mac and Linux will be able to print any webpage to Google Cloud Print. They’ve also turned on print preview for Chromebooks, so you’ll get the same familiar experience wherever you use Chrome.

In the coming months, google will enable GCP from more Google products and work with partners to add more printers and printing services. Happy printing!

Firefox 4 Beta 1 Launched

Firefox 4 Beta 1 is now ready to download and test! This first version gives an early look at what’s planned for Firefox 4. Stay tuned, because there is more to come and mozilla plan to release new beta versions every two to three weeks. Your feedback is essential to help shape the product which is why they’re launching now to hear from you early in their development process.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 includes dozens of major features and improvements – by testing them early they’ll be able to respond to your feedback for future versions of Firefox. Once you download Firefox 4 Beta 1, you’re part of our beta program and will receive regular updates as more features launch.

If you are using a Windows PC, the most noticeable new feature will be the look of the browser. Mozilla moved the tabs to the top to make it easier to focus on the web content and easier to control the tools in your Web browser. Also, if you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista the Menu bar was replaced with a single Firefox button so you can get to the most used options with just one click. These changes will be coming soon for Mac and Linux.

There is a lot more to this beta than a facelift on Windows, including:

  • New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!
  • HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.
  • Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.
  • Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) – when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.
  • Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.

Web developers will be interested in some of the changes we’ve made under the hood:

  • HTML5 Parser: Run the best Web apps of today and tomorrow – if a user’s browser doesn’t support HTML5, they still won’t miss out on your content.
  • WebSockets: Build real-time, online interactions like gaming and chatting.
  • IndexedDB: Use structured storage in your Web applications to speed them up or provide offline support.
  • Web Console: Peek into dynamic websites with this experimental “Heads Up Display” analysis tool.
  • Simpler Add-On Development: Authors can create Add-Ons that don’t require a restart to install, develop their Add-Ons more quickly using the new powerful Jetpack SDK, and safely connect to existing libraries using js-ctypes.
  • For a full list of Web technologies supported by Firefox check out our “big chart o’ features.”

There will be much more to test in future beta releases and not everything that you see in this beta is guaranteed to be in Firefox 4. That’s why they need your feedback to help shape Firefox 4. To make it easier to give feedback, Firefox 4 Beta includes a new Feedback Add-On. Any time you run across something you like or don’t like, just click the Feedback button and tell them about it. The Add-On also includes Mozilla Labs’ Test Pilot , and will ask you to take part in anonymous studies. You can choose to opt-out of any or all studies by managing your settings in the Feedback button (no data will be sent to Mozilla without your permission).

Help build the best Firefox ever:

  • Download Firefox 4 Beta
  • Learn more about the features
  • Submit your feedback
  • FAQ
  • Get the detailed Release Notes

Mozilla want to thank the Mozilla community of nightly testers for the amazing feedback that helped shaped Firefox 4 Beta 1.

Microsoft announces October 22nd launch for Windows 7

Mark your calendars, Windows fans. Ballmer’s crew has just made the launch date for Windows 7 official: October 22nd, 2009. Since Microsoft first released Windows 7 to the public in beta form (and even well before then), feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, many were caught by surprise. Windows 7 is a breath of fresh air to those who were blindsided by a disastrous Vista launch and who didn’t bother to stick around to sample later, infinitely more stable/usable builds. Despite the fact that it has maintained its market share very well, Microsoft has been in a constant battle to revitalize its image since then. Efforts were hit and miss until the company’s latest effort, the Laptop Hunter campaign, which has been very well received. Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign simply rehashes the same jabs over and over at this point and with a global recession in full swing, shoppers seem much more receptive to Microsoft’s message of affordability and value than Apple’s recycled quips. If Redmond can ride the wave until October, Windows 7 could certainly be a death blow to Apple’s already-dwindling market share. That is, if we don’t see a more affordable option from Apple before then.

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Maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition revealed

In an age where lightweight, undersized netbooks are all the rage, Microsoft is most definitely wise to manufacturers’ game. That game, of course, is to keep netbook pricing as low as possible while slowly but surely raising the bar where specs are concerned. One of the many ways manufacturers can keep netbook pricing down is by taking advantage of a cheaper edition of Microsoft’s OS, which means less revenue for Redmond. As such, Microsoft instates a set of maximum specifications a PC must not exceed in order to offer its base OS. Above to the right, you’ll find said maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition. As compared to XP/Vista’s max specs, we can see that processor speed has been doubled and 90GB has been tacked on where HDD space is concerned. Nice. On the flip side of the coin, max display size has been cut from 12.1 inches to 10.2 inches. Not so nice. In the end we’re certainly left with a pretty capable netbook but if you’ll be looking for a netbook that raises the bar without breaking the bank in the near future, it probably won’t be running Win 7.

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Microsoft clarifies Windows Marketplace for Mobile application sharing policy

Earlier this week, news broke about the new sharing policy for applications purchased on the upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The source article cites a new policy which potentially allows a customer to install purchased apps on up to five phones; theoretically allowing the customer to share purchased applications with four friends and/or family members. According to Microsoft this is incorrect, and a spokesperson has contacted us with the company’s official statement:

Microsoft knows the frustration of losing favorite apps and personal information when you lose, upgrade, or add a phone. For this reason, if you buy an application on Windows Marketplace for Mobile, you’ll be able to reinstall the application on a limited number of additional phones simply and free of charge. As outlined in the terms of use for Windows Marketplace for Mobile, this ability is limited to phones owned by the person who purchased the application. Application sharing is not permitted. We believe people will find a high value in mobile applications they purchase through the Windows Marketplace, and we will also be offering a refund policy that will make it easier to shop for applications with confidence.

So this policy, as it is meant to be interpreted, will allow a customer to install a purchased application on up to five phones that are owned by the purchaser. This five phone policy is meant to make application installation easier for an individual who switches phones frequently, demos more than one phone at a time, has lost his/her phone or has had his/her phone stolen. Application sharing however, is not permitted.

Apple pushes out OS X 10.5.7 update

Sure it’s a tiny bit later than many expected but OS X users can now finally get their mitts on Apple’s 10.5.7 update for OS X. Just open your trusty old Software Update utility and go to town.

The 10.5.7 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac.

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3397
For detailed information on security updates, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

Highlights of this latest Leopard update include fixes to sync issues, widget updates, resolved issues with logging into Gmail, improved parental controls and improved video playback on newer Macs. So what are you waiting for?

Oh no he didn’t! Microsoft’s COO says Vista SP2 is the “most secure OS on the planet”

You know when you’re talking about a subject you’re really passionate about and you start to head down a dangerous path? In the back of your mind, you know it’s going to come back and bite you in the ass but you don’t care at that particular moment because you’re so intoxicated with said passion… So you throw caution to the wind and keep going. Ahem. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner had this little gem to say at the MidMarket CIO Summit last week:

Vista today, post-Service Pack 2, which is now in the marketplace, is the safest, most reliable OS we’ve ever built. It’s also the most secure OS on the planet, including Linux and open source and Apple Leopard. It’s the safest and most secure OS on the planet today. Everything that we’ve learned in Vista will be leveraged in Windows 7, but certainly when we broke a lot of the compatibility issues to lock down user account controls, to lock down the ability to manipulate states and all the things, that was a very painful process for us to grow through, but we had to do it. And the reason that Windows 7 will be successful is because of the pain we took on Vista. Because from a compatibility standpoint, if it works on Vista, it will work on Windows 7. If it doesn’t work on Vista, it won’t work on Windows 7.

We’re not even going to touch this one, but please, feel free to discuss it amongst yourselves in the comments section.

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