Google's Cloud Print option now lets users print from anywhere without drivers, thanks to today's release of Google Chrome OS Dev version 9.0597.10 for Windows. The service installs your local printer drivers in the Google "Cloud," which then lets you connect and print regardless of location and operating system.
The Google Cloud Print landing page is labeled "in beta," but you can preview the service today using any computer running Windows XP, 7, and Vista, with Mac and Linux support on its way.
To start, you need to download the updated version of Chrome OS as well as Google Cloud Print Connector, the company's proxy solution for printers that don't have support Cloud Print natively. From there, click the "Under the Hood Tab within the Options Menu in Google Chrome, sign in using your Gmail username and password, and Google does the rest.
Once you finish the installation, Google automatically installs your local drivers so you can view a list of your Web-connected printers and print a test page. You can also check out your print history and track job progress by going back to Chrome Options and clicking on "Manage Print Settings..."
According to Google documents, vendors will eventually produce cloud-aware printers that support Google Cloud Printing out of the box, similar to and HP's latest line of
But contrary to Apple Airprint that only works with HP devices, Google also hinted at a hardware agnostic future for Cloud Printing:
"We also believe that the only way that the benefits of cloud printing can be realized is if the protocols are open, freely implementable, and, when possible, based on existing industry standards. We expect there to be multiple cloud print services, and users should have a choice in which services they use and which printers they can connect to a service. Stay tuned for more details. We are confident that cloud-aware printers will soon be a reality."