One of the more interesting things Google is working on that doesn’t get a lot of buzz is Cloud Print. The service aims to allow you to print anything from anywhere over the cloud. It’s a technology that is perfect for Chrome OS, which is trying to remove drivers from the equation. And it’s arguably more perfect for mobile devices. Today, Google is beginning to test Cloud Print for mobile.
As they outline on their mobile blog, today is the beta launch of Cloud Print for mobile documents and Gmail for mobile. As they note, “Imagine printing an important document from your smartphone on the way to work and finding the printout waiting for you when you walk in the door. Just open a document in Google Docs or an email in Gmail in your mobile browser and choose ‘Print’ from the dropdown menu in the top right corner.“
That does sound awesome. And it’s really awesome that it works over Google’s websites rather than a native application (though it’s currently only enabled on Android 2.1+ and iOS 3+ devices). But there’s still one problem with this perfect ecosystem. The printer itself still has to be hooked up to and set up with a computer. And not just any computer, it has to be a Windows-based PC.
Google continues to promise that Mac and Linux support is coming. But even better would be printers with Cloud Print built in — just like Apple is beginning to do with Air Print.
Still, this move towards mobile integration is a welcome step.