Архив метки: Google Docs

Google Pumps Up Their Cloud Print Service With New FedEx Partnership


The amount of harried printing situations I’ve been party to has dropped dramatically since I finished school, but Google’s new update to their Cloud Print service should have you covered if you can’t say the same.

According to a post on the official Chrome blog Google has baked the ability to print to any FedEx Office location right into Cloud Print, so you’ll be push your documents from Chrome, Google Docs, or your Android device to a participating store and pick up it whenever you need to.

When I took the service for a spin, the process of actually creating the job took a shade under 30 seconds seconds — from there, I was greeted with an email mentioning that my document was now ready to print at a local FedEx Office. As long as you’ve remember to keep the retrieval code from the email handy, you’re all set to pick up your sales report (or printed copy of Charge of the Like Brigade) when you need to.

It isn’t a dealbreaker if you can’t get down there immediately though, as the document will continue to live in the cloud for ten days. After that, you’re plumb out of luck (unless you pop into Chrome and Cloud Print it again). I imagine that not everyone will be too pleased with this development — companies like Breezy have working to remove the friction from mobile printing for quite a while, and now they’ve got other competitor to deal with.

Strangely enough, Google also announced that Cloud Print can now send documents to Ice Cream Sandwich-powered devices that have the Chrome for Android beta installed. It doesn’t strike me as a huge improvement over, say, just sticking it in Google Docs, but it’ll do in a pinch if you’re ever in need of a slightly-clunkier version of Instapaper.

Google Pumps Up Their Cloud Print Service With New FedEx Partnership

Appifier Launches New Service That Turns WordPress Sites Into Mobile Apps


Appifier is a new service, previously in beta, that turns WordPress sites into mobile apps. That’s not mobile websites, mind you, but actual mobile applications complete with push notifications, offline access, Twitter and Facebook sharing, plus a native look, feel and speed.

Unlike many DIY app creators (and there are many), Appifier isn’t doing a freemium offering. You can test out your app for free, but if you want to publish it in the app store, there are fees involved.

For non-coders/developers, the fees are reasonable. You can pay-as-you-go for $39.99 per month or you can bite the bullet and pay the “lifetime” fee of $499.99. The plans include same day iTunes App Store submission, unlimited push notifications, social media sharing features, custom design and branding, and analytics.

Says Co-founder Mike Gozzo (from his home office in Montreal), he and fellow Co-founder Steve Panetta, think they have something unique because other WordPress app builders don’t help you get into the app store and/or don’t create native apps. Think WPTouch, for example – the hugely popular WordPress plugin for turning a WordPress site into a mobile site. Or Weever Apps, another well-known option. But, says Gozzo, designers aren’t able to resell these creations as mobile apps. So the goal is to create a service they – or anyone – could use to build something a bit more elegant and packaged.

While it’s true that Appifier may stand out among the WordPress-to-app builder crowd, it isn’t just competing with them  —  it’s competing with all mobile app builders. And there are a lot of them out there. I mean, a lot. A year ago, I started making a spreadsheet (Google Docs link – and no you cannot edit it) to track all the services I could find, but had to stop around 55. That’s a crowded market. But the mobile app ecosystem is incredibly large, too, and growing still.

Appifier is at least focusing on a very popular vertical: WordPress and non-developers. In addition, the app-building process is short: 60 seconds the company claims. (See the video below).

Although there aren’t apps in the iTunes App Store yet (the service is launching today), there are a few in the Appifier Sandbox I could test. This is where potential customers will try-before-they-buy, too. Apps run a little slower in the Sandbox than they would natively, but you get the idea.

The apps are simple, with buttons for posts, categories and search, but they’re a heck of a lot prettier than WPTouch websites thanks to support for images, themes and other customizations. (It supports ads, too, if you must). Appifier will upgrade these customization options soon, in order to give designers even more control over the UI (user interface). All existing users will be upgraded for free.

And because the apps are native, the plan is to add support for more native features in the next update – like geolocation and text-to-speech, for example.

If you want to check out Appifier for yourself, you can test it out for free from here.

Appifier Launches New Service That Turns WordPress Sites Into Mobile Apps

Personal Search Service CloudMagic Arrives On Mobile For Fast Gmail, Docs & Twitter Search


CloudMagic, the personal search service that indexes your Gmail, documents, contacts, calendar and Twitter updates, is now available as a mobile app. The release follows a major update for the service this past fall, which added the ability to search Twitter and a move to host your personal index in the cloud.

This switch is what enables CloudMagic to work across multiple devices, including now, iPhone and Android smartphones. Using the new mobile app, CloudMagic is surprisingly fast – and far more useful than the phones’ built-in search functions alone.

We first looked at CloudMagic back in summer 2010 when the startup made its debut as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that indexed your Gmail and Google Apps. The extension is still around, if you want it, but is not required for the service to work. Instead, you can simply connect your accounts (Gmail, Google Docs, Google’s Contacts and Calendar, and Twitter) using OAuth. If you choose to use the extension, however, you’ll also have access to a CloudMagic search box you can access within Gmail or Twitter.

Using the search box is fast, and helpful in the way it aggregates and organizes the data. I like using the extension in Gmail better – in Twitter, it feels a little more in the way due to its placement. And while Gmail’s search is already very good, CloudMagic is helpful in that you can remain in your inbox, or even with an email open, in order to search. (Gmail’s search makes you navigate away from what you’re doing to a standalone search page to see your results.)

But even though Gmail’s native search is OK on the desktop, on phones, that’s another matter. Email search there is far more broken.

Email search on the iPhone, for example, only lets you search by “From,” “To,” “Subject” and “All.” CloudMagic, on the other hand, allows you to search for names, a company name, a phrase you remember from a tweet or anything else. It also supports the use of the advanced search operators listed here.

So now, for example, you can search for “filename:pdf” on your mobile to find all emails that have a PDF attached. Handy.

The app is also really, really, really, fast. It felt more like using the iPhone’s Spotlight Search feature than some cloud-hosted thing. (Hopefully that will remain the case after everyone signs up all at once!)

CloudMagic, which competes with Greplin, still needs to integrate more services to be competitive. Greplin already includes Twitter, and it offers Facebook, Tumblr, Dropbox, LinkedIn, and Google Reader, too. But it’s still good to see some competition in the desperately under-served, on-device mobile search market. Yes, that’s a thing. A thing we need!

You can grab the updated CloudMagic iPhone and Android apps from their respective app stores if you want to give it a go.

The service comes from the same folks who brought you IssueBurner, the combo task management/helpdesk solution for small teams.

Personal Search Service CloudMagic Arrives On Mobile For Fast Gmail, Docs & Twitter Search

The Top 30 Android Apps And Games Of 2011


Editor’s note: Contributor Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of mobile app discovery services Appolicious, AndroidApps and AppVee. After having looked into the best iOS apps and games of 2011, Spirrison now turns his attention to the best Android apps of the year.

Android apps come in all shapes and sizes – literally.

Unlike iOS applications, which are basically created for two form factors, Android apps need to be developed with dozens (if not hundreds) of device-types in mind. This is on top of the inconsistent operating system releases still mucking things up. While all of this fragmentation is a headache for developers, ignoring a platform with 50 percent market share would ultimately lead to their peril.

The best Android apps are thus the ones that can both push the technological envelope while also remaining accessible to the vast majority of users. This is no easy feat.

We divided our list of the best 30 Android apps into four distinct categories. The top ten apps come from third-party developers, and, if not exclusive to Android, were created primarily for the platform. Additional sections include the best new or significantly updated apps from Google, as well as the best apps and games that appeared first on iOS but later arrived to Android in 2011.

As is the case with our lists of best iOS apps and games of 2011, hundreds of additional titles are worthy of consideration. Our top 30 showcase the growth and maturation of Android apps over the last year. They are also worthy downloads.

1. Any.DO: To Do List | Task List (full AndroidApps review)

Funded by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Any.DO is the best productivity and to-do application tailored specifically for Android devices. The app’s elegant interface is optimized to limit actual typing through voice-driven commands. Users can swipe each task when complete, and shake their phones to clear them from the screen. The app also offers (mostly) seamless integration with Google accounts.


2. Lightbox – Photos & Effects (full AndroidApps review)

More than just an Instagram for Android, Lightbox offers features like photo journals and the ability to arrange pictures by personal timelines that make it unique and, to some, indispensable. The app’s stunning visual display and compatibility on multiple Android devices set the standard moving forward for photo-sharing apps on the platform.


3. Amazon MP3 (full AndroidApps review)

Along with Google Music (see below), Amazon MP3 is the best way for an Android smartphone and tablet owner to kick an iTunes habit. The app provides access to a library of nearly 20 million songs, 5GB of free storage, and reliable offline listening. Subscriptions to Amazon’s Cloud Drive service start at a reasonable $20/year for 20GB of storage, but you can store as much of your own music as you like with that subscription.


4. AirDroid (full AndroidApps review)

Android devices offer so many customization features that sometimes using a larger screen, mouse and full-sized keyboard will help you get the most out of your smartphone or tablet device. This free app lets users operate their smartphones from a PC with a Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, AirDroid emphasizes privacy protection with password changes for each use.


5. SwiftKey X Keyboard (full AndroidApps review)

After launching a beta app last year, SwiftKey X arrived on Android smartphones and tablets in 2011. The app has larger keys as well as superior word and sentence prediction algorithms than what is typically found on Androids. SwiftKey also learns from previously typed emails and messages, and offers three color schemes to simplify the process and brighten things up.


6. Skitch (full AndroidApps review)

Acquired by Evernote, Skitch lets users annotate photos with sketches, images and words. The app has dead simple editing tools and the ability for users to draw with multi-colored crayons. Skitch is a great app for kids in addition to serving as a functional and unique photo-sharing service.


7. BlueStacks Cloud Connect (full AndroidApps review)

While still in Alpha, BlueStacks is demonstrating how Android applications can run on Windows-based PCs. The Android app works in concert with the Windows-based BlueStacks App Player to run mobile applications on PCs. The venture-backed company and application, which has attracted more than 500,000 early adopters since launch, expects to debut a Mac OS version in 2012.


8. Qello (full AndroidApps review)

Available as separate applications for Android smartphones and tablets, Qello offers a great catalog of high definition concerts (mostly rock, but with other genres sprinkled in). Users can sample the 500+ titles for free, or lease any of them on a weekly ($1.99) or monthly basis ($4.99).


9. AccuWeather for Honeycomb (full AndroidApps review)

Developed specifically for Honeycomb-based tablet devices, this all-inclusive weather application showcases the beauty and utility of Android on larger form factors. The Lifestyle section, which informs users on things like whether it is a good day for biking or bad day for allergies, is a nice humanized touch.


10. HD Widgets (full AndroidApps review)

Android is all about customization, and there is no better and more comprehensive widget app available than this one. Optimized for Android tablets and smartphones, HD Widgets is great for Android experts and first-timers alike. Users will also appreciate the “fanatical” customer service of the developers.


Here are the five best Android apps developed by Google that were released or received significant updates in 2011.

11. Google Currents (full AndroidApps review)

As long as Flipboard remains exclusive to iOS devices, this new release from Google serves as the premier news reader on Android smartphones and tablets. More of a fast and elegant aggregator than social magazine, Google Currents benefits from an organized layout and dead simple third-party publisher platform. There is also — shockingly — nice integration with Google+, including curated content from the likes of Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki.


12. Google+ (full AndroidApps review)

Google became a relevant player in social networking this year with the successful launch of Google+. While the service is also available as an iPhone app as well as a web app through BlackBerry, Windows and Symbian platforms, Google understandably treats its own platform as first among equals. Check-ins for business, for instance, rolled out first on the Android app.


13. Google Maps (full AndroidApps review)

A November update to this trailblazing application introduced indoor mapping functionality to mobile devices. Google Maps 6.0 helps users more easily navigate within airports, shopping malls and other locations where GPS technology is spotty.


14. Google Docs (full AndroidApps review)

While no mobile application matches the utility of Google Docs on a desktop or laptop, this official version for Android is pretty close. If you’re a hardcore Google Docs user, this app will help you break free from your desk and still read and edit docs and spreadsheets on the fly.


15. Google Music (full AndroidApps review)

Like Amazon MP3 cited above, Google Music is a way for Android users to comfortably cut the cord (or cloud) on iTunes (at least on their mobile devices). The app lets users store up to 20,000 songs for free in the cloud, with a portion available for offline access.


These next 10 apps were initially released for iOS devices. They are included here for their utility, entertainment value and impact on the Android ecosystem.

16. Price Check by Amazon (full AndroidApps review)

When Amazon unveiled this price-comparison app to Android devices just before Black Friday, the company’s retail Death Star became fully operational. Sure, Price Check was available to iPhone owners a year earlier, and there are similar apps across all major mobile platforms. But having an Android app gives Amazon critical mass in this category, and allows the company to (again) upend physical retail as we know it. This includes offering discounts to consumers on their phones during the point of comparison.


17. Netflix (full AndroidApps review)

There were a lot of things that Netflix did horribly wrong in 2011. Releasing a killer Android app for smartphones and tablet devices was not one of them. As Android tablets become ready for prime time and more plausibly compete against the iPad, entertainment apps like Netflix will flourish.


18. SoundTracking (full AndroidApps review)

The most innovative music detection and discovery app of the year finally arrived to Android in December. SoundTracking not only identifies a song a user is listening to, but shares it with Facebook, Twitter and foursquare friends and followers. The advantage of the Android app, relative to the iOS version which launched earlier this year, is that users with Spotify and Rdio can listen to entire tracks (as opposed to 30-second snippets from iTunes).


19. Hipmunk Flight Search (full AndroidApps review)

Hipmunk differentiates from the run-of-the-mill flight search applications by predicting how painful your traveling might be. The app’s “Agony Index” takes into account factors beyond price including flight duration, Wi-Fi access and other variables. Once users choose the least painful flight, the app accommodates direct booking and provides access to third-party services.


20. Fooducate Shopping Scanner (full AndroidApps review)

This app translates nutritional information found on food packaging into plain English, and offers a letter grade as to how healthy or harmful an item can be. The app offers comprehensive coverage of both mainstream brands and niche delicacies via the scanning of barcodes. Best of all? The app suggests healthier, similar alternatives to the worst offenders.


21. Marvel Comics (full AndroidApps review)

Reading classic comics within this app works on virtually any size Android screen — which is no easy feat. Marvel Comics also offers panel-by-panel viewing that features beautiful art and more legible word balloons. While most titles require a subscription, there are an ample amount of classic comics available for free.


22. Syncplicity (full AndroidApps review)

For digitally promiscuous users who store and share files on multiple devices and operating systems powered by Android, iOS and Windows, Syncplicity is a useful way to manage libraries found within all of them. Unlike many cloud-based alternatives, Syncplicity uses encryption to secure files.


23. Starbucks (full AndroidApps review)

After launching initially on iOS and BlackBerry smartphones, the official Starbucks app finally arrived on Android earlier this year. Better late than never. The app lets users manage their Starbucks Cards and purchase coffee and the like at nearly 7,000 U.S. locations.


24. LinkedIn (full AndroidApps review)

After what seemed like an eternity in beta, LinkedIn finally launched an Android app ready for prime time in the spring. While not perfect, the LinkedIn app is a much better alternative than the company’s more limited mobile site. Finally, this indispensable professional networking service found a full-time gig on Android.


25. Path (full AndroidApps review)

A significant December update to this social blogging app on Android and iOS devices served as an early holiday present to its passionate and vocal adherents. Beyond sharing photos, users can now tell the world about what music they are listening to and other activities they are doing. The app’s new design and “Automatic” feature, which recognizes when users deviate from routine schedules, also separate Path from the pack.


And finally, we present the five best games to arrive to Android devices in 2011. Notably, they all first appeared on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

26. Cut the Rope (full AndroidApps review)

While not a household name like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope is among the most addictive and popular mobile games of all time. The graphics and music are superb, and Cut the Rope is optimized and plays very well on larger Android tablet devices. This is another multi-platform grand slam for (Angry Birds) publisher Chillingo.


27. World of Goo (full AndroidApps review)

One of the most original and well-crafted physics-based puzzle games around finally made its way to Android devices in late November. Originally an indie hit on PCs, World of Goo is a construction game in which users must connect goo balls together to build structures so that other goo balls can get to the end of each stage. The abstract art and imagery alone make it worth the five bucks to download.


28. Where’s My Water? (full AndroidApps review)

A clever and addictive puzzle game by Disney, Where’s My Water? combines whimsical design with killer gameplay. Players are tasked with keeping a sewer-dwelling alligator named Swampy clean and pristine while guiding him through urban terrain. Easier said than done, particularly with Swampy’s alligator buddies standing in the way.


29. Plants vs. Zombies (full AndroidApps review)

This classic title from PopCap, which was acquired by Electronic Arts in July, first came to Android earlier this year via the Amazon App Store. It was sold exclusively on Amazon until early December. Fans of the cartoony tower defense game will enjoy tapping into Plants vs. Zombies on Android devices.


30. Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD (full AndroidApps review)

The best racing game available for Android devices, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD combines plenty of cars and game modes — including a psychedelic “Adrenaline” boost — with superlative visuals and gameplay. This one deserves the checkered flag.

The Top 30 Android Apps And Games Of 2011

Pogoplug Cloud Launches With 5 GB Of Free Storage For Mobile Users

pogoplug-photo 2

Cloud storage service and device maker Pogoplug is unveiling its latest offering today: a new service for mobile users that offers 5 GB of free online storage. To use “Pogoplug Cloud,” you first sign up directly from your mobile phone or tablet (iOS or Android 2.2+), then download the app and begin the upload process.

And that’s where Pogoplug really begins to shine: it automatically uploads the photos and videos from your device to the cloud – no sync required.

In testing (on the iPhone), the process was pretty straightforward. You go to www.pogoplug.com from your mobile browser to sign up or login to the service and find the appropriate app for your device. You then launch the app, login and the upload just starts on its own. It really couldn’t be easier.

In the app’s Settings, you can also specify whether the uploads can run over 3G, Wi-Fi or both, and there’s a curious setting where you get to specify a “destination” – what other destination besides Pogoplug Cloud could there be? There aren’t other options at present, but it would be great if this app could one day serve as a funnel to other cloud services too. Fingers crossed!

As a company, Pogoplug has been experimenting with different ways to entice users to its online cloud storage service, a challenge in the era of Google Docs and Amazon’s Cloud Drive and the like, all of which offer their own freemium services attached to much more recognizable brand names. Pogoplug typically uses its competitors’ size and scope to its advantage, though, at least in terms of its marketing. Pogoplug is about doing it yourself, hosting your own cloud storage safely and securely outside the reach of the big co’s.

Today, there’s Pogoplug hardware, desktop applications, and now, this new mobile app, all of which attempt to funnel users into the Pogoplug Cloud instead.

Although the Pogoplug user interface isn’t quite as clean and pretty as those from Google, Amazon, Box.net, Dropbox, iCloud or others, it’s certainly handy to get 5 GB of storage for free. But where Pogoplug stumbles is the pricing, something it claims is more affordable than the rest. That’s only the case when you “host-your-own,” though – then it’s free. Otherwise, additional online storage is $9.95/mo for 50 GB and $19.95/mo for 100 GB.

Google, meanwhile, charges $5/year for 20 GB, $20/yr for 80 GB, $50/yr for 200 GB, $100/yr for 400 GB and $256/yr for 1 TB.

Amazon charges $20/yr for 20 GB, $50/yr for 50 GB, $100/yr for 100 GB, $200/yr for 200 GB, $500/yr for 500 GB and $1000/yr for 1000 GB.

And Apple’s iCloud is $20/yr for 10 GB, $40/yr for 20 GB and $100/yr for 50 GB. You see, it’s actually hard to compete with the big guys on the bottom line.

If anything, Pogoplug is more in line with Dropbox, which also offers 50 GB for $50/mo or 100 GB for $19.99/month.

That being said, if you’re looking for an additional backup destination for either iOS or Android (no single point of failure!), it doesn’t hurt to have another 5 GB to tap into somewhere. But when it comes time to switch over to the paid pricing tiers, Pogoplug may not make the cut.

Pogoplug Cloud Launches With 5 GB Of Free Storage For Mobile Users