How to set up Google Cloud Print
How cool would it be to send print jobs to your home or office printer regardless of whether you were in town or halfway around the world? Well, you can't quite do that from any computer yet, but if you've got an Apple iOS device (iPhone or iPad) or if you're one of the very few lucky people who have a Google Chrome-based laptop, you can be the first to experiment with a nifty new service called Google Cloud Print.
I'll admit before we start, though, it's of limited value because it's not widely available yet, and because it's frankly quite complicated to set up. Much of that complexity is because you need to have a printer hooked up to a server then install their software on that server and hook it up to your Google account. Then you can access that printer from other devices on the Internet.
The very first step to experiment with Cloud Printing is to download and install Google Chrome, the Web browser from the Google team that can almost, but not quite, double as your entire operating system experience.
Got Chrome installed? Good. Now let's get started with the process by going to the Chrome settings menu. Click on the little wrench:
You want to go to "Preferences", then "Under the Hood":
Scroll down to the very bottom of this page and you should see the following:
If your version of Google Chrome isn't showing the cloud printing options, you have an earlier version of the browser and need to update it. Easiest way is to choose "About Google Chrome" from the "Chrome" menu: it should show that there's an update available and let you install it.
Now it's time to sign in to Google Cloud Print. Click on the button and you'll see:
Enter your login credentials and it'll send them to Google for verification...
If you've enabled 2-step verification (see my earlier article Enabling 2-step Google account verification) this is going to prove tricky because Google Cloud Print doesn't know how to work with it. You're stuck.
Well, not entirely, because you can actually set up an exception in the 2-step verification system, so let's take a small sidetrack and I'll show you how to do that. If your login worked, you can skip forward a bit.
Those of you with 2-step want to set up an application-specific exception, which can be done in the Mange your 2-Step Verification page.
On that page, look for the section that lets you generate an application specific password and enter a mnemonic name like "Google Cloud Print":
Click on "Generate Password" and it displays a rather complex temporary password:
(I've blanked it out for security reasons)
Select it and choose "Copy", then go back to the login window and enter your account name and the temporary password. Click "Sign In" and...
If you aren't using 2-step verification (which, btw, I recommend to everyone) then you'll have been able to skip forward to this step.
Now we're all in sync, the next step in the Google Cloud Print verification process is to see what printers it's picked up and is making available...
To see what's been added, click on "Manage Print Settings..."
There's my default printer, my Samsung ML-1740!
Click on the printer, then choose "Share" from the submenu:
That's all you need to do, actually. As you can see here, the printer is now available and ready for use according to Google Cloud Print:
At this point, let's switch over to an Apple iPhone so you can see how Google Cloud Print works.
In Gmail on my iPhone, I tap on the extras menu (the "^" icon)...
For once, the "Print" option makes sense. Tap on it and the Google Cloud Print printers show up:
Tap on the printer desired (the first, in this case) out of the list of every printer know to my system (even though they weren't all displayed when I was configuring Google Cloud printers on the server, which rather baffles me):
Almost done. Tap on "Print" on the lower right and the print job is sent, through the cloud, to the destination printer...
Even if hundreds of miles separate the phone from the server and printer.
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