Google Cloud Print review: First Look

Google attempts to revolutionise the world of printers with its cloud-based approach to printing, but how well does the new service actually work? Kat Orphanides fires up her web browser to find out.

Cloud computing is a computing model that allows users to access software, hardware infrastructures and platforms that exist and operate remotely. You don't need to know anything about the remote system's configuration or location - you just use it.

When it comes to innovative ways of working without being bound by the physical hardware and software you have to hand, Google is at the front of the pack. The company's latest innovation is Cloud Print, which lets you print without drivers or a physical USB or network connection to your printer - perfect for those of us who carry documents around on our smartphones. Mobile > Cloud > Chrome > Printer Cloud Print is a key part of Google's forthcoming Chrome OS, but a version has already been implemented in the mobile versions of Gmail and Google Docs (currently supported by Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7 among others) via the Chrome web browser, which acts as your print server. To turn Chrome into a Cloud Print server, you'll need the latest Windows version of Google's browser - 9.0.597.98. To enable Cloud Print, click on the Spanner icon settings button in the top right hand corner of your Chrome window, select Options, go to the Under the Hood tab and scroll all the way to the bottom. Now click on the button marked Sign in to Google Cloud Print, which will prompt you to sign in to your Google Account. With that done, your local copy of Chrome is all set to provide remote access to any printer your PC is configured to use, via the drivers that are already installed.

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