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..

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