Google's Cloud Print solution for computers powered by Google Chrome Operating System is still in its infancy, but at least one company is marshaling its efforts around the solution for when it launches on netbooks later this year.
Cortado, which currently lets users print from RIM BlackBerry smartphones, Apple's iPhones and iPads, is writing a software plugin for Google Chrome OS to let users print directly via WiFi or Bluetooth.
Users will be able to trigger spontaneous direct printing from Google Chrome OS or Android devices. The plugin will support all existing printers and nearly all file types.
The utility will augment Google Cloud Print, a service Google introduced earlier this month that lets any application print to any printer from any computing device using Google's cloud computing infrastructure. Google envisions the solution as a salve to the on-premise print solutions that use myriad drivers to execute print tasks.
Cortado CEO and President Henning Volkmer told eWEEK that to print via Google's solution, printers must support Google Cloud Print, or be connected to a PC.
With Cortado's mobile printing capabilities, users do not have to search for a printer that supports Google's cloud printing solution or have access to a PC.
"We don't take something that already exists and try and cramp it into a device that's not made for it," Volkmer said, when asked about Cortado's approach to the printing market, which is hetereogeneous by nature. "Instead, we build a tailor-made interface for each and every device we're working with."
For example, while the functionality of the Cortado Workplace solution for the iPhone is the same as that for an Android, Cortado will tailor the solution for the Android platform based on the differences between the iPhone and Android touch screens.
Cortado, whose free Workplace cloud printing tool is used by more than 12,000 customers, will also offer a private cloud solution for corporate IT departments that have more rigid security requirements.
Volkmer said Cortado, which charges $130 per user for a "corporate server," will charge for the private solution.
It's early days for Chrome OS and Google Cloud Print, neither of which are yet available in the market. Google Cloud Print is still in what Google calls "preliminary designs," so there's no telling that Cortado's Chrome OS solution will actually be a good fit for Cloud Print when it arrives.
Cortado knows this, and professes to be nimble; the company is simply preparing for what it sees as a fundamental shift toward the cloud and that future will be steeped in mobile devices.
"While we know that this must be approved and accepted by Google, we hope to have the company's support to provide the same printing convenience for the Google Chrome OS that we already provide for major mobile computing platforms," said Carsten Mickeleit, chairman of the board of directors of Cortado parent company ThinPrint AG.