This story was originally published and last updated .
Even in a mostly digital world, there are still times when you need to quickly print an important document, whether it be for work, school, a hobby, or otherwise. Instead of reaching for a computer, why not put your phone up to the task? With some help from Mopria, you can easily print files straight from your favorite Android device.
Cloud connectivity isn't an area of focus for most printers, and if the shutdown of Google Cloud Print is any indication, there aren't many people looking to control their printers with cloud services. However, Amazon has now released an update to Alexa that allows it to connect to printers, so you can use voice commands to control them.
Printers are terrible, but in many circumstances, they are a necessary evil — especially in the offices and schools where Chromebooks have a stronghold. Chrome OS has been slowly expanding its support for printing over the past few years, as native printing (without Google Cloud Print) arrived in mid-2017, and last year's Chrome OS 78 update made further improvements. Now Google is preparing another key update: a print manager.
As any Android enthusiast will know, Google loves testing new UIs and features on random users. Sometimes the changes are welcome, but other times... not so much. This latest addition to Google Photos falls into the latter category, because a dedicated Printing tab is something that nobody asked for.
Earlier this year, AOSP commits revealed that Android 9.0 would support printing via Wi-Fi Direct. Put simply, it would allow your phone to print documents over a peer-to-peer connection (without being on the same Wi-Fi network). Some manufacturers have added Wi-Fi Direct support to their own print service plugins, but the native Android print service didn't have it.
There's a new update for Google Photos rolling out, but on the surface, it doesn't look like any notable changes have been made. However, we aren't just interested in the things that have gone live, but also improvements we can look forward to in the future. The latest version of Google Photos hints at printing capabilities for albums and a search suggestion for 360 photos. Some new information is also available for a previously teased interface that promised to be a faster way to share photos with friends. Of course, keep an eye out for anything we may not have seen.
To be honest, I never really expected to have anything to say about a teardown of the Drive companion apps, but here we are. Google uses Docs, Sheets, and Slides to give Android a mostly seamless editing experience for each of Drive's primary document types. They've gone through a steady set of improvements since launching in April and June of last year, either keeping pace or progressively catching up with the features offered by their web counterparts. While the latest updates brought some fairly minor tweaks, they've also got a few clues hidden inside. We can see the long-awaited Chromecast support for Slides, a printing-related security toggle, and a clue about an upcoming Easter egg.
Google Cloud Print has recently received a material redesign of its own. You would be forgiven for thinking that the printing service wasn't its own app, given how it's tucked away with your device's other settings. But when you do go to "add a printer," you are, in fact, kicked out to a different app.
It just doesn't look like it.
Cloud Print has gone Material. Everything's bright white, the sidebar slides out on top of the action bar, and the new color palette matches the settings menu in Android 5.0.
Cloud Print also has a new icon, but since it doesn't sit in your app drawer, you probably won't see it all that much.
Autodesk's mobile offerings for Android are almost always impressive or useful, often both. From SketchBook to Pixlr Express, the company has consistently provided Android users with great apps. Today, there's a new entry in Autodesk's catalog that lives up to that reputation - 123D Catch. In a nutshell, the app lets users create 3D models of real objects using just their smartphone camera.
To get started, the app suggests capturing 20-40 photos all around your chosen object, most at even level with the object, plus some from a top angle. The capture interface gives a handy ring guide to let you know how completely you've captured the object, and once you hit the check mark, the app will ask you to sign in in order to put together and share the finished model.