There has been a lot of talk about Microsoft Web Apps in recent months and a lot of discussion about how it and Google Docs are going to square up. Meanwhile, HP follows Dell as the latest company to add new document management capabilities to a new set of printers.

Web Apps Released for Selected Regions

Finally, Microsoft‘s (news, site) Office Web Apps have been released. While the roll-out is not complete -- a full international roll-out to come soon -- users in the US, Canada, Ireland and the UK can now access browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote -- at All you need is a Microsoft Live ID.

Over the last few months, Microsoft has been incorporating feedback from users involved in the Office Web Apps Technical Preview in the run-up to the general release of Office 2010 due next week.

Generally speaking, there hasn’t been a lot said as to whether the new Web Apps are good, bad or indifferent, but no doubt that is set to change over the week as people start uploading their docs onto Skydrive.

So here’s some of the functionality we know about so far.

  • Drag And Drop: You can drag files directly from your desktop into a web browser and edit them there. Documents that have been shared with you, or documents that you have been working on recently can be easily accessed in ‘recent documents’.
  • Real time work: With co-authoring in Excel and OneNote Web Apps, you can work with others at the same time and never be locked out of a document when someone else is working on it.
  • Smartphone Access: Word and PowerPoint documents can be accessed on SmartPhones without any additional software by entering on your Smartphone.
  • Instant messaging: Send and receive instant messages using Messenger on the web, whether or not Messenger is installed on your computer.
  • Version history: Enables you to go back to older edits of your documents.
  • Enhanced search: Search across all documents and those shared with you by others.

It’s too early to know whether this is going to steal some of the Google Docs thunder, but watch and wait and it should become clear very quickly.

HP Takes Printers to the Cloud

There has been quite a bit of movement on the integrated printer and document management front in recent weeks. Only last week, in fact, Dell (news, site) announced it was taking to the document management market by adding document management functionality to its printers.

This week, HP (news, site) has added a web connection and email address to its printers with the new ePrint platform. It adds Google cloud capabilities to web connected printers so that users will be able to print anything anywhere and from anywhere.

The new solution enables ePrint connected printers to access files in the cloud through Google Docs, Google Photos and Google calendar and print those files across an international network of printers. Features include:

  • Store files in the cloud and print them when necessary
  • Schedule content delivery to printers for printing
  • Manage print tasks from the HP ePrintCenter, an online hub

It works by giving each printer its own email address so designated users can use their smartphone, tablet or laptop to print remotely without using drivers. As the new abilities only work with ePrint-capable printers, HP has also launched a new line of compatible printers that range in price from US$ 99 to US $ 299.

HP plans to add a web connection to all its laser and inkjet printers over time and said it expects to sell “tens of millions” by the end of 2011.

DocuLex Upgrades WebSearch

DocuLex (news, site) has just announced an upgrade to Archive Studio WebSearch to add customized business process and collaborative workflow capabilities in v4.2.

The result is the automation of any business process through systematic workflows using its new intelligent “decision engine”, which organizes project information and directs it to each member of staff involved in that workflow. It also notifies them of action needed and tracks their revisions and additions.

WebSearch will now store metadata in the SQL database and update the database when metadata is edited, providing backup of workflow content throughout each project. The end result, Doculex says, is project simplification with time and cost conservation.

For those not familiar with WebSearch, it is browser-based, document management software for collaboration, email archiving and compliance, knowledge management and records retention.

It was developed for use throughout a business's operations to enable secure content access from any location with searches performed using document specific metadata descriptions, full text content, as well as date ranges, search history, search lists and saved searches.

The program manages multiple levels of security, including organization, community, group, users, as well as individual files and is compatible with many current compliance standards include SEC, FINRA and Sarbanes Oxley. You can access an online self-guided demonstration on the website.

Streamline Signs With MRO

Streamline Health Solutions, which provides a hosted document workflow solution for hospitals has just signed an agreement with MRO Corp (news, site), a provider of disclosure management applications for healthcare organizations to provide integrated solutions offering document workflow and release-of-information processing for healthcare organizations.

MRO will refer Streamline Health's document workflow and management solutions to its hospital and healthcare customers who seek to bridge the gap between paper-based processes and transaction-based healthcare information systems.

For its part, Streamline will refer MRO to its hospital and healthcare customers who need disclosure management applications and services, such as ROI Online.

According to the companies, the agreement expands the penetration into new and existing markets for both organizations, and offers healthcare providers an opportunity to advance their facility's technology and processes with integrated solutions.

As a result, healthcare provider customers will be able to capture documents, place them in a repository, and access a historical view of patient records and route documents to optimize healthcare business processes. Pennsylvania-based MRO specializes in various aspects of the disclosure of personal health information for healthcare providers.