Google takes a shot at Apple Air Print feature, launches its own Cloud Print beta for mobile documents and Gmail for mobile.
The feature allows users give print command directly from their mobile phones. All that a user needs to do is open a document on Google Docs or Gmail and click on Print option from a drop-down menu at the right-hand side.
The feature is currently available for smartphones with HTML5 support. However, the activation of the feature is subsequent to connecting the printer to Google Print. The only flip-side is that the printer is supposed to be connected to a computer running on Windows OS. The conduit used is Google Chrome and only the latest beta version of the browser needs to be installed to effect mobile printing.
Google Chrome received Cloud Print capability in December 2010. The feature works on the model whereby instead of relying on local operating system or drivers to print, printing is managed over Google Cloud. Google cloud allows hosting of printer drivers on the Google account, eliminating the constant need to configure a printer. The responsibility of sending the documents to the right printer with the specified setting is passed to Google Cloud Print.
Google on its Google Mobile Blog described the ease of use that the feature entails as: Imagine printing an important document from your smartphone on the way to work and finding the printout waiting for you when you walk in the door.
Apple launched its AirPrint feature in November 2010 when it released its iOS 4.2 update. The AirPrint feature allows users to send print command directly from iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to WiFi-enabled printers like HP Photosmart, HP LaserJet Pro and HP Officejet which will be the first lineup of printers to support iOS devices.
By launching Google Cloud Print for mobiles, Google is also attempting to take on Microsoft's cloud support for Office suite. In November 2010, Google offered a new service called Google Cloud Connect, a feature that allows users to sync office documents with Google Docs and creates a back-up. The back-up file gets a unique URL and can be shared and simultaneously edited.
Also Google launched its Google Docs editing feature for Android tablets and iPad in September. The feature enables real-time co-editing of word documents, spreadsheets and power-point presentations over tablets. It also brought Google Docs editing feature for mobile phones in November.
Google has been adding these features to Google Docs in its attempt to reach the enterprise customers on the tablet and smartphone platform.