The Cloud just got a little bit cooler.
Have you ever wanted to create your own wireless global network? Have you ever been in the midst of collaborating with someone, have them design something for you, then have to mail it to you so you could print it out? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could just connect your printer to the cloud and share it with whomever you wanted? Thanks to Google Cloud Print, you now can.
The implications are staggering. This is yet another piece of the puzzle that is slowly being assembled right before our eyes. This puts us one step closer to erasing the lines between the digital world and the virtual.
How It Works
The operation is fairly simple. Just like you can set up a Dropbox account, put files there and share them with whomever you like, this allows you to create an account and register your printer with that account. From there you can give access to the printer to anybody you choose. They pull up a document, tell it to print, select your printer, and out comes the document.
Any number of printers can be configured in this manner and added to your account and of course it doesn’t have to stop at printers. The internet of objects is exploding in size. Soon, you’ll be able to add any object on the net to a similar cloud based service.
This is what will make it possible, for example, for you to order something from Amazon, and rather than have them ship it to you you’ll simply share your home 3d printer with Amazon, and they will send the product schematics to your printer for printing. As soon as it’s done you take the thing you ordered from the print tray and go on about your day.
Likewise, if you plan to be in some other city and want some product samples waiting for you when you arrive, as opposed to packing them, you could simply contact a print hub where you’ll be going, arrange for access to their printers, send your order, and pick up your goodies when you arrive.
Long Term Implications
Google’s latest offering is of course still in its infancy, and even now it presents an almost unlimited array of possibilities. Imagine though, in three to five years time when the system begins to mature. Individuals will be well on their way to creating hundreds of millions, then billions of decentralized networks that know no boundaries. They will cross national boundaries effortlessly. They will tend to take on a form that closely mirrors the shape of the sum total of a person’s social networks plus the eCommerce platforms each individual has dealings with.
Digital and physical goods shared seamlessly. This is not just enormously empowering to individuals, it is paradigm shifting. It transforms manufacturing. It transforms commerce, and it all starts with Google Cloud Print. If you’re not already using it, start today. It is the wave of the future.