Even Google knows that there are still some occasions when you just need to print something, so for the last few years, the company has been steadily improving this service. At its core, Cloud Print allows you to share your printers with others and print virtually anything from anywhere.
There are plenty of “cloud-ready” printers on the market, which you can connect to the Internet and manage from your Google Cloud Print accounts. Until now, however, Google only supported Cloud Print in Chrome on Chrome OS. There are also some third-party tools for OS X and Windows, but until today Google itself didn’t really offer any support for third-party operating systems.
Today’s launch of the Cloud Print Service for Windows allows admins to easily connect their existing printers in their schools and businesses. The service runs in the background and connects your printers to Google’s cloud. It’s officially in beta, requires that Chrome is installed and is compatible with Windows 7, Vista and XP with the Windows XPS Essentials Pack installed (but then, you really shouldn’t run XP on your computers anymore…).
The other tool Google is launching today is Google Cloud Printer for Windows, which is essentially a printer driver for Windows that lets you use Cloud Print just like any other printer that’s installed on your computer. With this, you can print to Cloud Print from any application on your computer.
With today’s update, Google also now makes it easier to share printers with anybody nearby by simply providing them with a link. You can manage access this way and also set limits for how many pages a given user can print per day (something schools will surely appreciate).