Print 5 comment(s) - last by jharper12.. on Jan 26 at 4:06 PM

  (Source: Google Mobile Blog)

  (Source: Google Mobile Blog)
Allows smartphone users to print mobile docs and Gmail e-mails and attachments

We've known about Google's printing-from-the-cloud ambitions in Chrome for more than half a year now. As of yesterday, those ambitions are finally becoming a reality.

The Google Mobile Blog announced that the company began rolling out a beta version of Google Cloud Print for mobile documents and Gmail for mobile yesterday. The functionality allows smartphone users to print a document open in Google Docs or an email in Gmail -- as well as certain attachments -- right from the device.

The new feature will be available to English-speaking users in the U.S., who are running devices that support HTML5 -- Android 2.1+ and iOS 3+. Before it can work, a printer must be connected to Google Cloud Print, so far only on a Windows PC. Mac and Linux support are on their way. Additional support can be found on the Google Cloud Print help page.

While it may come in handy, this is only a sliver of the full functionality Google intends to implement with Cloud Print. The software is designed to eliminate the need for different drivers for every printing device. The final goal is to allow any app to print to any printer without the use of wires or direct communication, which, if done right, has the potential to disrupt the tethered nature of printing.

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By omnicronx on 1/25/2011 12:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
The software is designed to eliminate the need for different drivers for every printing device.
It does no such thing, it just eliminates the need for drivers on the mobile device itself. The PC your printer is attached too obviously still requires a driver. What it eliminates is the need to have a driver on every device that wants to make use of that printer.

That said, this feature seems pretty much useless in its current form. It does not support printer sharing, only the user that syncs their account to the printer can make use of it. I.e in its present form, its completely useless outside of personal printing.

Also being tied into Chrome, it cannot be run as a background process. You need to be logged in as the user sharing the printer on your PC at the time of printing.

Its a good idea, but has a LOT of kinks to work out. It just seems to me that it could have been better thought out..

RE: confusing
By nolisi on 1/25/2011 1:16:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's an idea, but how useful it might be is in question.

Often- I, and many other users I know, put information on our smart phones so we DON'T need to print them. There are also seldom times that I get information from my smart phone that I want to print.

And if I'm at my PC- I don't want to have to take the extra step of logging in to print if this can't be run as a service. I may as well print from my PC.

Someone should inform Google that Microsoft (as well as Mac) already has a solid printer sharing mechanism built in the OS. With everyone having basic networks at home, and cell phones coming with 802.11b/g built in- there is no real need to send print traffic over the Internet. Just build a print sharing client into the device and have the users connect wirelessly to their own home networks. There is no good reason for this traffic to be moved over the public network and for Google to manage it for us.

RE: confusing
By omnicronx on 1/25/2011 5:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
There is a clear need, I just don't think Google is following the right path to get there.

Current printer sharing is very limited outside of windows based machines. Wireless printer sharing is irrelevant if you don't have the drivers on your device to make use of it.

Problem is, driver support outside of Windows (and to a lesser extent OSX and Nix), is essentially non existent.

On mobile platforms, it is non existent. Printer manufacturers don't and probably never will create drivers for all the mobile platforms out there.

So disagree, there is a need, I'm just not too fond of Google's implementation. The fact that this is essentially a user-level application which leverages a browser sort of makes me laugh as this is something an amateur programmer could have come up with. Especially when you consider the fact that they are still clearly utilizing the windows print driver model..

By bupkus on 1/25/2011 4:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
I'm using a brother HL-2170W wireless printer, obviously not attached directly to a computer. What now?

Also, I tend to encourage my clients using notebooks to select networked printers or routers (ASUS WL-520gU) that can provide USB ports for networking printer support via dd-wrt. Can/will Google's cloud support IP addressed printers?

Wow... big picture here guys...
By jharper12 on 1/26/2011 4:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
Google is focused on wireless printing and NFC... think this is going some where? Here's a big use, universities. Right now lots of universities have a print quota for printers, imagine then that you have a smart phone in school, and you need to print a document for class. You pull up the document, and then go to print, you select, "Local Printer" and then you walk up to the closest printer and wave your cell phone in front of it. You are recognized as a university student, and the printer informs you of the quota usage for that particular printer. Maybe you get fewer pages on a less toner efficient machine, because quotas after all are all about reducing usage and spending. So you say, "ok, I'm fine with using two pages of quota to print a single page, because using the printer right outside of my class is convenient." Hit print, and retrieve your paper. Bam, automated, authenticated, and done with a minimal amount of prompts, setup, or user interaction. This would also be useful at a large company... there's a printer in the room you're presenting in, and all of a sudden the group you're presenting to takes a real interest in a project you're pitching. "Hey, can we get hard copies of that chart to show to our project manager?" Yep, let me just print those up for you.

Finally, anybody here use dropbox? I know I do, and because my phone is always with me, my files are always with me. So making printing from my phone easier is a great idea. Seriously, tons of functionality here if/when this is integrated with NFC. Want to print something at Kinkos using your phone? Setup an account, press your phone to the machine, send the file, retrieve your documents and walk out the door. All without ever talking to the cashier.

I'm always on the road, and my clients are always asking me to print a file last minute. Despite the fact that I have access to the file on my smartphone, currently, I have to get out my laptop, save the file to a thumb drive, and head to the closest place that can print. That's a real pain folks, and this will alleviate that pain.

Basically, every printer will be "smart" with an embedded system and wifi. So long as it has internet access, you'll be able to use it. That sounds pretty sweet to me... not sure why people are hating on this idea.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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