Google has updated its Cloud Print beta service to give users even more options for printing documents and files while away from their homes or offices.
The new options are extending the existing service, which started in 2011 as a way for users to be able to print documents from their portable devices, such as tablets, smartphones and laptops, when they are on the road.
"Have you ever needed to print a boarding pass, whitepaper, or speech, and didn't have your computer at hand?" wrote Andrew Warren, the Google Cloud Print product manager, in a July 22 post on the Google Chrome Blog. "Google Cloud Print helps you print from anywhere to anywhere using any device, and we've recently made several improvements on that front."
A key addition to the service is the ability to easily share a printer with anyone nearby, by simply publishing a link, which is a helpful option for users when they are working out of different offices or in other public spaces like a school, wrote Warren.
One other important new capability is the Google Cloud Printer, which "makes it possible to print to any of your cloud printers from Windows applications such as Adobe Reader," wrote Warren. By extending the cloud printer to Windows applications, it makes it even easier to print anywhere, anytime, he wrote.
Meanwhile, systems administrators will be able to more easily configure printer sharing through the new Google Cloud Print Service, which "runs as a Windows service so administrators can easily connect existing printers to Google Cloud Print in their businesses and schools," according to Warren. "We'll continue evolving Google Cloud Print to make printing simple and easy from as many devices as possible. For now, the future looks good on paper."
In June, Google had added a Cloud Print Android app that made it easier for Android smartphone and tablet users to print their documents and files remotely, wrote Warren. The Android app is available in the Google Play store.
For answers to questions about the cloud print service and for help using it, Google set up an FAQ for users.
Google's Cloud Print service began in 2011, when Google began offering it to expand the usability of the company's services, including Chrome OS, Google Docs, Apps and Gmail.
In January 2011, Google opened beta testing for Cloud Print via Android smartphones and Apple iPhone users, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Cloud Print lets users print to any printer from any computing device without installing any software. Google Cloud Print enables printing via Google's Chrome Operating System, the Web-based OS that is featured on Chromebooks and other devices. Google created Cloud Print because it did not want to incorporate printer drivers for every computing device and operating system based on Chrome OS.
Google is always adding new features and services to its Android products.
Also in June, Google unveiled an improved version of its Gesture Search app, which helps users find information on their Android phones and tablets in some 40 different languages. That means that users can now use gestures to search on their devices on many more languages than just English. The revised new app lets users access contacts, applications, settings, music and bookmarks on their Android devices by drawing letters or numbers, while refining the search results as gestures are added. The new app recognizes native characters for more than 40 languages and supports transliteration among the supported languages.
Google Gesture Search was launched in March 2010 as a project of the Google Labs research team.