A company knows it has a winning idea on its hands when others start to implement their own solutions to the technology. It looks like Apple’s AirPrint and AirPlay is one of these innovations. If you remember back in April 2010, Google announced that it would implement Cloud Print, which would let you print from any device, OS or browser without installing software or drivers.
Last week Google announced the Beta launch of Cloud Print for mobile documents and Gmail. The concept is very simple, the user just needs to open a Google Document on your iOS device, select print, and the document is sent to the printer over the net.
This new offering from Google shows some promise, but there are a few initial bugs. First, the print option does not seem to be available in spreadsheets like it is in emails and documents. I’m not sure if this will ever be available for spreadsheets as Google calls their version of a Word document a “document”. Most people use the word “document” to refer to all available Google Docs, but Google uses “document” to refer to their version of a Word document only.
The other shortcoming is that the setup process is not Mac friendly. To set up this feature you need to connect your printer to Google Cloud Print, unfortunately this step can only be accomplished on a Windows PC. Google has confirmed Mac and Linux users will have to implement this little work around, but they are currently working on a solution for Mac and Linux.
I tried to set up Google Cloud Print with my wife’s work PC and after what seemed like successful configuration, I attempted to print an email from my mobile Gmail application. When I tapped “print” in the mobile Google application I was just brought a blank browser window. I am not certain if this is a Google issue or an issue with this computer being administratively locked due to its corporate nature. In any event it didn’t work.
I look forward to when Google releases a solution for Mac and Linux users to see if Cloud Print will be a viable alternative to the AirPrint offering from Apple.
TechnoBuffalo readers, have you had success setting up Google Cloud Print and if so what are your thoughts on the service? Let me know in the comments below.