HP March 31 made it possible for users of Google Cloud Print to print documents, Web pages and other files to any HP ePrint-enabled printer from any supporting Web, mobile or desktop application on any computer or smartphone.
HP is the first major printer maker to officially pick up the Cloud Print cause. Interested users will add the e-mail address of their HP ePrint-enabled Photosmart, Officejet or LaserJet Pro to their Google account. Users should then be able to print from Google apps to the selected HP printer.
Google introduced Google Cloud Print last April to allow any application to print to any printer from any computing device from Google's cloud without installing any software.
The solution allows printing via Google's Chrome Operating System, the Web-based OS coming on notebooks from Samsung and Acer later this year.
Google created Cloud Print because it did not want to incorporate printer drivers for every Chrome OS device, which is core to the company's departure from printing the traditional way via printers tethered to specific Windows computers. That also means shedding USB cables between printers and computers.
Google envisions that corporate office workers will print documents from their Chrome notebook on their train ride to work, then pick up the printout when they arrive at the office. Corporate road warriors might print their airline boarding pass from their smartphone to their home printer to save time before leaving for the airport.
Google said Cloud Print may be used with any printer, but early users have found configuring their desktops to print using Google's service a chore. The company acknowledged that the experience is best executed with "Cloud Print ready devices," which is where HP fits in.
"Making it easy for our customers to print where and how they want is a top priority for HP," said Stephen Nigro, senior vice president, Imaging and Printing Group, HP.
Chrome OS, Gmail for Mobile, Google Docs for Mobile, are the only three Google apps that support Cloud Print for HP ePrint printer. There is also a third-party Android app, Chrome extension and Firefox add-on. Google expects to expand its service to third-party apps in the future.
Improvements in Google's Cloud Print service are forthcoming. Google will soon enable printer sharing for current Google Cloud Print users, which means family, friends and colleagues will be able to print their documents.