Recently, Google introduced a feature called Google Cloud Print. Originally designed for use with the Google Notebooks, which are powered by Chrome OS, Google Cloud Print lets you print documents, spreadsheets and other items from your Google Docs account straight from your Android or iOS smartphone. With Google Cloud Print, you don’t need to purchase any additional hardware, install any new drivers or tweak any system settings. Read on to learn how to use Google Cloud Print from your Android smartphone or iPhone.
What You’ll Need
Google Cloud Print works in conjunction with the Google Chrome Browser and a printer that’s already connected to one of your computers. So, you’ll need:
A computer running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
Google Chrome installed on your computer
A working printer connected to your computer
A smartphone browser that supports HTML5 (iOS, Android)
A Google account
Setting Up Google Cloud Print
Before you can begin printing Google Docs from your smartphone, you’ll have to activate Google Cloud Print in your Google account. To do this, launch Google Chrome and click the Wrench icon in the top-right and choose Options. Next, click Under the Hood.
Scroll down to the Google Cloud Print section and click Sign in to Google Cloud Print.
Enter the username and password for your Google account. This is the same username and password you use to log in to Gmail, Google Docs and other Google products.
After you sign in, Google will tell you that Google Cloud Print has successfully been set up. If you want, you can print a test page from your computer to ensure that it’s working properly.
Now, on your smartphone, navigate to Google Docs at http://docs.google.com/m
Open a Google Doc and touch the arrows in the top-right. This reveals the Print… button. Touch it.
Select a printer and touch Print.
The print job will be added to your queue. If your printer is connected and your computer has an active Internet connection, your job will begin printing. Until the job prints, it will stay in your Google Cloud Print queue. You can view this by going to google.com/cloudprint. You can also add and remove printers on this page.
This is a handy way to print documents from your smartphone. However, there are some limitations. You will have to have your printer connected to a computer for this to work, meaning it isn’t much more convenient than printing it directly from your computer. But it is an important step towards reaching parity with Apple’s AirPrint feature, which lets you print directly to a printer from an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. AirPrint, however, requires a printer that supports AirPrint, while Google Cloud Print works with any printer.
The other benefit of Google Cloud Print is that it’s completely browser based. You don’t need to download any apps to your smartphone or install drivers on your computer. The downside of this, however, is that you can’t print directly to an IP-based or wireless printer…for now.