By Brandon Miniman | November 4, 2010 8:25 AM
Google Docs is a pretty powerful was to collaborate. It’s a free suite of applications that can replace Word, Excel, and other Microsoft Office programs, all through the web and with real-time collaboration. Since your documents are stored in the cloud, you can access them through your smartphone. If you’re using an iPhone or Android device, the Google Docs web interface is actually quite usable: you can view and edit all of your documents, right from your phone.
It turns out that Google Docs for smartphones may soon be adding another feature, thanks to some references in the source code: Cloud Printing. Quite simply, Cloud Printing will allow you to remotely print to any printer in the world, as long as it’s set up properly. So think of the scenario: you and your coworker are putting the finishing touches on a long report for work. From the back of a taxi on your way back to the office, you can finish your edits, hit print, and by the time you get into the office, the document has already printed.
Here’s a bit more about how Cloud Print will work, according to Google:
Google Cloud Print is a web service offered by Google. We expect other entities to provide their own cloud print services as well. Users associate printers with their Google Account via the service. Printers are treated in much the same way as documents are in Google Docs. Therefore, it is very easy to share printers with your coworkers, friends, and family anywhere in the world. No need for complex network setups to make print sharing work! In addition to associating printers with a user’s Google Account, the capabilities of each particular printer model are stored so they can be shown to the user to select appropriate options when submitting a print job. Once the service receives a print job, it sends it to the printer. It also receives regular updates on the status of the print job which it makes available to the app.
And Google Cloud Print will work with legacy printers (meaning, every printer that is out there today) through a proxy, but printer manufacturers can update the firmware on their printers to make them cloud-aware. Neat!