We’ve waited a long time for Google Cloud Print, and it’s every bit as convenient as we had imagined. The new service from Google makes it possible for PC users to wirelessly print to a networked printer from smartphones, laptops, and tablets capable of supporting Google services, such as Gmail or Google Docs. To get your own Google Cloud Print party started, follow these simple steps.
1. Download Google Chrome Beta 4
Google Cloud Print supports a number of flavors of Windows, including XP, Vista, and Windows 7. No matter which version of Windows your rig is rocking, you’ll need to have Google’s zippy Chrome browser installed on your PC in order to leverage Google Cloud Print. You can find it at www.google.com/chrome.
The computer on which you install Google Cloud Print needs to be connected to the same network as the printer you want to print from. Before moving on to Step 2, open Chrome and turn on your printer. You will also need a Google account to continue, which you can create at www.google.com/accounts.
2. Let the Wrench Be Your Guide
Look for the wrench icon in the top-right corner of the Chrome window. Click it, and from the menu that opens up, select Options. This will open the Options pane. From the Options pane, click the tab labeled Under the Hood and scroll to the bottom of the available options (below). Click the button marked—you guessed it—Sign in to Google Cloud Print. Now, sign in using your Google Account credentials.
3. Print a Test Page
If everything goes according to plan, you’ll be rewarded with a window telling you that the operation is a success. That same window has a button prompting you to print a test page. Give it a click. In doing so, Chrome will open a new browser window that prompts you a second time to Print a test page. Select a printer or a service and click Print (below).
4. Take the Show on the Road
Now that you’ve set up Google Cloud Print on your home computer, you’re ready to start printing on the fly from your smartphone or other Internet-connected mobile device. Grab your mobile computing device of choice and navigate to Google Docs. Select a file. From the menu bar at the top of your Google Docs interface, click the Option button (located to the left of the Refresh button), and then tap the Print link. Doing so will open a new browser window that reflects the same printer options as were offered on your networked computer back at home (below). To print your Google Docs file, select a printer, set your print options if need be, and watch as Google Cloud Print does its thing. Provided you left your computer at home on with Chrome up and running, your print jobs will be sent from mobile device back to your computer to be turned from bits of data into slabs of dead tree. Magic!
If you turned your computer off before leaving home or the office, turn it back on when you return and open Chrome. Your documents will be sent to the printer of your choice in short order.