Monday Google launched the public beta of Google Cloud Print, a free service that enables users with a Google account to print email, pictures and other media from a mobile device. Currently Google Cloud Print is only available to Chrome notebook owners and those using the latest Chrome web browser beta on the Windows Platform-- Linux and Mac support is coming soon.
To get started on the PC, users simply download and install the latest Chrome browser beta, then hit the "Tool" button (wrench) to access the Options section from the drop-down menu. The Google Cloud Print section is listed in the "Under the Hood" section, allowing users to select the printer connected to the PC (either directly or via the local network).
Once the printer is set up, users simply head to gmail.com from the iPhone or Android browser-- printing support currently isn't available in the Gmail app for Android or the Google Mobile app for iOS. The new printing option is listed in the drop-down menu located in the top right corner (with reply all, mute etc). Users can also print eligible email attachments (such as .pdf or .doc) by clicking the "Print" link that appears next to them.
Based on in-house tests, users can print email and documents using a 3G connection. The only requirement—whether it's a 3G connection or using Wi-Fi-- is that the PC connected to the printer must remain on, even if the printer is directly connected to the local network. Additionally, users still running Windows XP will need the Microsoft XML paper specification pack installed.
"We’re rolling this feature out in U.S. English over the next few days, so if you don’t see it right away please check back," Google said Monday.
The company also added that it's working on tools to let users share and control access to their printer as easily as sharing files in Google Docs. "For now, printers are only accessible to the account that connected them to Google Cloud Print," Google said.
To learn more about Google Cloud Printing, check out its official FAQ here.