Google extends its cloud printing service to Windows

Google has updated its Cloud Print service, adding full support for Windows (XP, Vista and 7, anyway) and making it easier to share printers.

Cloud Print was first made available in 2011, and essentially allows you to access your printers from phones, tablets, PCs and more, wherever you happen to be. The service has previously been accessible via Chrome, but this new release makes it available to any Windows desktop application.

The first part of this update is Google Cloud Printer, a virtual printer driver. Choose Print from any application, select the Google Cloud printer, and a Chrome window will open where you can log in, assign and manage the print job.

The second element, Google Cloud Print Service, is a Windows service which makes it easier to share your printers via Cloud Print.

One small complication is that you’ll need a copy of Google Chrome to install and use either of these packages.

And more significantly, the programs don’t yet officially support Windows 8. (Our first extremely brief tests suggest they work on the desktop, but not from Windows 8 apps.)

The entire system is still in beta, though, so there’s plenty of time for this situation to improve. If you’re already using Cloud Print on PCs then the latest releases are a big step forward, and downloads of Google Cloud Printer and Google Cloud Print Service are available now.

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