Google's already done so much with its search engine, its app store, its controversial--but popular--social features. Why not throw printing in the mix? Still in its early stages, Google Cloud Print eases the process of printing from mobile devices like an iPad.
Part of the Chromium and Chromium OS projects, Cloud Print will supposedly allow any type of application to print to any printer--including Web, desktop and mobile apps. This means that in addition to the iPad, potential users include BlackBerry owners, Windows machines, Macs, etc.
A Web-based API would allow devices to either directly communicate with cloud printers, or send signals to a proxy. Word is that software for Windows is already in development, and Mac and Linux support will follow shortly after.
Is It Necessary?
Sure, there are already wireless printers that work over local networks, but that's just the thing: You have to be on the same network in order to print. VPN is an option, of course, but Google Cloud Print would eliminate that extra step.
The feature would also make printing documents that originate on your device a breeze, like movie tickets purchased from your phone. Additionally, if the iPad ever gets really good at the whole word processing bit, well, there's another advantage there.
Cloud Print is still a fairly new development, but the existing code and documentation is already open to the public. Apparently it will be necessary to associate Google Cloud Print with your Google login. Prepare yourself for the imminent privacy arguments.
Say Hello to the Other Dead Horse
This is a tired argument, so we'll make it quick. The reasons Google is a threat to Microsoft just keep stacking up. The Web giant made perhaps its biggest move since Google Marketplace when it announced the Google Docs overhaul earlier this week. The changes bring Docs closer to traditional word processing software, but keep our Web-oriented ways the focus of the party.
With these printing capabilities in the pipeline and the massive growth of our mobile lives, we're looking at more reasons to go Google than we'd previously anticipated