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.

PC Cloud Print In its current form, Cloud Print's functionality is useful but limited. It's all very well being able to print documents and emails from an Android phone, but we still do most of our document editing on computers. Although Google hasn't provided any software to allow you to print from a PC, Chrome's user base has already come up with a solution. Oren Yomtov's Print Using Google Cloud Print extension for Chrome lets you send Gmail messages, Google Docs word processor documents and any PDF, DOC or TXT file opened in Chrome to your Cloud Print server (i.e. a Cloud Print enabled copy of Chrome on another computer). It sounds complicated, but works surprisingly well. For example, this article was written in Google Docs at home and sent to the office printer five kilometres away so we could pick it up to read over in the morning. It's significantly easier than getting our home printer out of the cupboard. It could also work as an alternative to a fax machine if we ever need to get an important hard copy to our colleagues while we're out of the office. We were also pleased to find that, as well as the basic printing options available to Cloud Print's mobile users, we could access an Advanced Options menu that gave us control over features such as paper size and type, although we still couldn't select the A3 paper tray on the HP laser printer in our office.

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