Posts tagged ‘beta’

December 16, 2011

Google Cloud Print one year later

A few days ago, Google Cloud Print was rolled out to more users, with new features. One of the more interesting is the ability to embed a cloud print button on one’s website. Read on to learn the reason this cloud print button is important.

Reverse colors in 2011

Google Cloud Print's new logo

The Google Cloud Print landing page now offers complete instructions for registering a printer that is not connected to a PC or other computer. There is also a detailed user tutorial, which wasn’t available a year ago.

The full list of operating systems, device types and browsers from which one can access Cloud Print is extensive.  This seems to be the easiest way to decide whether Cloud Print will work with a user’s current “configuration”:

On any web page, if you see a “Print” button with the Google Cloud Print logo, you can print without leaving your browser.

As I wrote this article, I found a few user tips. Profiles and Cloud Print for Any Page has good instructions for embedding the Cloud Print button, and for using it with multiple Google profiles in Chrome 16.

Variety of services

Google Cloud Print offers versatility

Implementation and strategy thoughts

The level of detail required to specify device (mobile/ tablet/ PC/ Mac/ Chromebook), operating system (Android/ iOS/ Windows/ Mac/ Chrome OS) and print app makes one think about the project management complexity. I can only imagine the hardware and data integration challenges!

It is worth noting that Google chose to expend this effort on printing, which is one of the least interesting computing services, for marketing and developers alike. This is a reality, despite the importance of print functionality to those who need it.

In Beta

A certain problem URL, described in my  Cloud Print post last year, still returns the same 400 error. I don’t fault Google for that. Google Cloud Print remains is in beta. It is more prudent to keep the beta designation until a product is ready. Avoid the sort of headaches Google recently had with the still-buggy Gmail for Apple iPhone mess a few weeks ago.

February 25, 2011

Scholar in Beta

Detailed guidelines for the free Google Scholar search service are available.

logo

Scholar Beta Logo

Confirm your that your usage adheres to attribution and branding standards. DO peruse an example.  The “Do and Don’t” list is quite extensive.

There are many alternatives to Google Scholar. In fact, there are a surprisingly large number of specialized search engines available in general. Most of us are not aware of these search products unless we use them, as the major mainstream providers, Google, Bing and Yahoo are so highly visible.

Entrez search services are one example. The U.S. Government does not play favorites with Google. At least, not always. Entrez designed search engines are used by the National Institutes of Health and National Medical Library’s PubMed.gov and National Center for Biotechnology Information, for the vast and complex searches required for bioinformatics, genome research queries and a list of 50 other specialized fields of medical inquiry.

Google Scholar is useful because it facilitates both searches for scholars and their publications. An alternative search engine that focuses more on the individual scholars themselves, and includes only active faculty, is Scholar Universe, one of several specialized search engines from ProQuest.com.

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February 1, 2011

YouTube Video Scavenger Hunt

YouTube – Broadcast Yourself included a hyper-linked line of text at the bottom of my search results today. It read something along the lines of “Discover video treasures on YouTube”.

What could be described in such glowing terms amongst the mess of poor quality content, or poor quality recordings of high quality content, that constitutes much of YouTube? “Video treasures” evokes the phrase “national treasure” which is such a contrast to the petabytes and exabytes of inane user comments attached to most videos, regardless of the associated video’s (sometimes worthwhile) content. Well, I clicked and saw a page with the heading,

YouTube Topics on Search Beta

and the following announcement:

YouTube Topics is a new way to explore the worlds of videos on YouTube. After you opt in, when you search for something (“funny” for example) you will see topics related to your current search displayed at the top of search results and next to individual videos. You can click on these topics to switch to that topic on search.

You can also add a topic to your current search by clicking on the  + sign that shows when you hover over it. Each new topic you click will give you new results to explore.  Here’s a query to start with, so you can see how it works:  camera tricks

You may have noticed a “golden topic” when you tried this. We’ve scattered topics across the site for you to find (including this one), and if you can find and click on them all, you’ll unlock a special YouTube Logo to prove your puzzle prowess.

For more clues about the golden topics and for other questions you have, read this article in the Help Center.

An advisory that I am currently not opted in to Topics on Search Beta, and must Click here to opt in, is at the end of the page. I will opt in. I feel a bit uneasy in light of Facebook’s announcement (and rumored retraction) that it would release users’ names, addresses and phone numbers to 3rd-party developers unless the user opted out. I do not use Facebook. Also, I trust Google significantly more than Facebook! Plus I checked the URL associated with the Click here and it appears to be genuine!

My next post will advise whether or not this scavenger hunt for “golden topics” is worthwhile, or the goal attainable. Perhaps I will even have that intriguing “special YouTube Logo” to display, as proof of my puzzle prowess…

December 9, 2010

Transition to server-side moves forward with Google Cloud Print

print from the clouds with Chrome OS

Google Cloud Print logo

Google has been extremely busy recently. Maybe a more accurate statement would be that they’ve been extremely prolific. Google introduced the Chrome Operating System Netbook, also known as the Cr-48, to select users. It shipped yesterday. That was probably the highest profile event.

But Google also quietly unveiled a new cloud print feature, now available in public beta.

Google Cloud Print

The landing page for instructions to connect a printer  to Google Cloud Print describes the product with a nicely stylized flow image (see below). Here is the official product description:

By connecting your printer with the Google Cloud you will be able to print to your printer from any computer or smart phone, regardless of where you are. Just activate the Google Cloud Print connector in Google Chrome and your printer will automatically be available to you from Google Cloud Print enabled web and mobile apps.

This page includes a button to install Google Chrome browser, stating that it is for Windows 7, Vista and XP. It probably refers only to the Chrome browser, not to the Cloud Print functionality. I came to this conclusion after reading a Cloud Print help page, “Where can I print from?”

We’re working hard to provide Google Cloud Print integration with many Google products and services, the first of which will be Chrome OS….

Flowchart for using Cloud Print

Flowchart for connecting a printer to Google Cloud Print

Still a beta product

I looked for more information in the footer of the Google Cloud Print Help page. I found and clicked on this Google Cloud Print link. I presumed this would be an “About” page, or maybe a post from the Google New Products site on Blogger. Instead I was surprised get a return of the same URL in the header,

http://www.google.com/cloudprint/intl/en

and the following text:

Missing X-CloudPrint-Proxy header.

Error 400

It appears that Cloud Print isn’t quite ready yet for everyone. For now, it is ONLY available for users running Google Chrome Operating System.

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