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Google cloud print for Android is live (sort of)

One thing you may have been wondering about mobile devices in general, your beloved Android phones included, why there isn't an option to print from the device, at least not easily. There are some workarounds but none of them are easy to use or work with all printer. Google is in the process of changing that and has made an important step forward so far. Read past the break for more on this.



Sure, iOS has Air Print, but last I checked there were 12 printers that actually supported that so it's not a real alternative, for now. Now both Android and iOS will get access to printing within the next few days, at least within Gmail, though I'd expect this to become integrated into the OS through an update or at the most the next version of Android (hopefully the former).

The way in which it works is still pretty restrictive, but it's promising, at least in theory. You need a Windows PC - Linux and Mac support coming soon - with the newest Chrome Beta version installed (the current v8 doesn't include it, v9 does). Inside the Tools menu, you can login to Gmail and it'll grab the printers off your PC into the cloud, letting you then print off the mobile website of Gmail. Apparently it'll work on Android 2.1 and above, which is good.

Sure, most of us use the Gmail app, don't necessarily want beta versions of Chrome or print emails that often - far less than attachements, which don't open inside the email, but software that doesn't support Cloud print yet, but it's a start. If this works as promised and will let me just import existing network printers at work it's a big step up from not having it at all. This also means that Google is realizing the importance of printing from mobile devices, since we have them on us all the time, with all our accounts logged in permanently, and, more importantly, as tablets start becoming more viable alternatives to our laptops.

I don't have a printer at home, nor any set up on my main machine, but once I get into work tomorrow morning I'll install the Chrome beta on my work machine and give this thing a shot. First person to reply to this will have the notice I get emailed when a comment gets in printed and displayed in the edited version of this post - take your shot at 15 minutes of fame guys !

Images: Google Mobile blog

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