January 24, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Google has announced that it is bringing its cloud-based printing option to mobile phones. Google Cloud Print won’t entirely free users from the shackles of connecting their printer to a desktop PC, but it will enable them to send jobs directly from their mobile device rather than have to rely on a desktop to do it.
Beginning today, Android 2.1 or higher users can send print jobs from their phone or tablet to a compatible printer. Cloud Print requires that users connect their printers to a Windows PC (Mac and Linux support to come), but it follows a natural line of thought. If phones can travel so far as to give users the ability to edit or read documents in Gmail or Google Docs while on the go, why must those same users be forced to wait until they make it back to a PC and re-start their session to print a physical copy? This will be a time-saver for students looking to print a term paper edited on a bus or a worker who wants to have the latest edition of a report waiting for him or her when arriving at the office.
Cloud Print requires an easy set-up process that took me less than 10 minutes to complete. Using Google Chrome, I was able to pair my Windows 7 laptop with a Kodak printer and begin printing from my HTC EVO soon after. While the set-up was easy, it’s still disappointing that Cloud Print is currently hampered by the need to have a printer connected to an active computer. The function extends only to the Gmail and G Docs web apps, not the native Android app. This is a good starting point that I hope to see reach all apps. How great would it be to create an Excel sheet in Docs to Go and print it directly from the app?
Let’s hope we find out soon. Here’s a short video displaying how it all works, from set-up to print, with some cuts to remove the extended wait times.