I tried something new today. I had a look at Google Cloud Printing, a technology aimed at letting you print from anywhere you like, onto a designated printer that’s attached to your account. It all sounds very magical so I wanted to see how far I could actually take it. Here’s a schematic of the architecture it seems to implement:
The diagram above talks about “cloud-aware printers” but I don’t know of any of those, nor do I own anything similar. So I went down the legacy printer router. The First thing you need is a printer attached to a computer that’s running Chrome. That was easily arranged; I installed Chrome, and configured Cloud Printing to be running on the machine. It’s a relatively straight-forward process and once it’s set up your printer is visible from wherever you may need to print.
And here’s where I got stuck. I thought you should be able to print from any computer or application you wanted to. Or, maybe a website that can produce print output like www.123print.com could use a cloud based printer to output your work to your local printer. But it seems that the Google Cloud Printing isn’t that mature yet. Reading the FAQ on the Google Labs page, they say:
Any app can use Google Cloud Print. When a web app uses Google Cloud Print, it should just work in any browser on any device. Browsers themselves can also use Google Cloud Print
However, I couldn’t find any way to actually print to the printer. Digging a bit further, I came across a different FAQ on Google Support site that said:
Weâ€™re working hard to provide Google Cloud Print integration with many Google products and services, the first of which are Chrome OS, Gmail for mobile, and Google Docs for mobile.
Right, seems rather limited, but I did have Gmail for mobile on my Nexus One. So I fired it up and looked for a Print option. But it was to no avail, I just couldn’t find a Print option anywhere, which meant that I couldn’t actually use the printer. I did give a check to make sure I’m on the latest version of Gmail and that was an affirmative.
So, I’m just going to leave things as they are for now. The printer is set up, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do with it. I would have expected that my Android phone would be able to use it, but maybe I have to wait a bit more for that.
Any luck out there using Google Print Services?